Redefining your Competitive Edge – Cremora in South Africa


When your competition is fighting on price and commoditising the market, how do you justify a premium price?

Background – Dominant brand losing Market Share.

Cremora is a coffee and tea whitener in South Africa. It is a Nestlé brand and has dominated its market over many years, but in the past few years its main competitor, Ellis Brown, had been discounting heavily and taking significant share.

Nestlé South Africa had responded with product improvements and strong advertising, but nothing was making any difference. Every time Ellis Brown discounted Cremora lost more share. Whatever the Nestlé team did to try and build the brand the competitor’s actions were commoditising the market, turning it into a trading and price war.


The Key Question – When nothing is working, what can we do?

We have tried all the usual things and nothing is working. How do we regain preference and a premium positioning?


The Outcome – A new Communications approach resulting in regaining Market Share and a Premium Price.

We helped the Nestlé team to think about their brand differently. Our unique research techniques showed them how South African consumers thought and felt about this product differently and how their use of it is different than in other markets. We showed the team how they needed to adapt the global approa of the brand to suit consumers in this market with a different emphasis.

We challenged their view that further product changes were essential and made them think about their communications differently, directing consumers towards the benefits that were already present in the product and differentiated it from Ellis Brown and other competitors. We demonstrated how recent “improvements” to the product had in fact undermined consumer faith in the brand.

After adapting their communications strategy Nestlé spotted that Ellis Brown’s discounting strategy was having significantly less affect upon their brand. Very soon they were able to re-establish a price premium in their market and consistently win again in preference testing. Cremora has now regained its prominence in the South African market.


“I have been working with the Marketing Clinic in the Philippines, Pakistan and across East and Southern Africa. Not only did their work help us make product improvements, but their insights into the consumer emotional journey & experience helped us improve our communications as well…

… you always delivered excellent work, I have no hesitation endorsing you!”

Bruno Olierhoek

CEO and Chairman Nestlé East and Southern Africa