Identifying what makes a great brand great – Cornetto


Cornetto is a global ice cream brand and the leading brand in its sector in just about every market in which it operates. As with all leading brands it is targeted by other global brands and by local brands in each market.

Cornetto Ice Cream

The Question – What makes Cornetto Great – How do we make it even better?

The Cornetto team asked The Marketing Clinic to help them understand more about what makes Cornetto great and how they could improve their communication to keep it ahead of the competition.

The team asked us to help them define the why behind the success – what is it about Cornetto that makes it successful – and thus how to bring order to the range strategy and how to leverage these insights to inform communications


The Marketing Clinic Approach – Identifying Cornetto’s Unique Journey

As we researched Cornetto and its competitors in Europe and in Asia it was clear that there were competitors that were cheaper, but consumers were willing to pay more for Cornetto. There were competitors that had better quality ice cream, more additions, more luxury versions, but Cornetto was always more popular. It was not the quality of the ice cream, it was not the number or the indulgence of the additions that made the difference. It was the sensorial and emotional journey that the ice creams took their consumers along that differentiated them.

We identified a specific number of different stages in the consumption experience of the Cornetto, each different stage prompting a different emotional response from the consumer and the order and relative intensity of each stage delivering a unique overall emotional journey.

Not only do the competitors not have as many stages in their consumption experience but – even more importantly – the relative intensities of the stages that they do have are discordant and the transitions between the stages do not move the consumer through the journey as cohesively as Cornetto does.

Cornetto delivers a unique emotional journey that is not only very attractive to its target market, but when eaten by groups or couples together, also unites them, brings them together, in a way that the competitors just do not achieve.


The Outcome – Subtle changes in the communications strategy creating a differentiated space for Cornetto

Following this research, The Marketing Clinic were able to advise the Cornetto team on some subtle nuances of their communication strategy. Their advertising Agency had developed a communications strategy based upon “Fearless Romance”. But, following Häagen-Dazs’ advertising in the 1990’s, all ice cream is about romance, and the existing interpretation of Fearless Romance was not differentiating from competitive products also aimed at the same young age cohort.

However, when the emotional journey of Cornetto is understood it is clear that Cornetto brings people together. Remembering the ancient Greeks six words for love Cornetto should be ‘Philia’ or ‘Ludus’ not ‘Eros’. This insight led to subtle changes in the communications strategy that created a differentiated space for Cornetto. A differentiated space that felt true when it was consumed.

This detailed understanding of the Cornetto consumption experience also led to a tighter focus in product development directions allowing the team to turn their attention away from worrying about the quality of ice cream, number of additions etc. of their competitors and focusing upon what made them great – their consumption journey – and improving upon that.