Jon Christoph Berndt®


Strong Brands Have Enemies—and Loyal Fans

If you want to be clearly positioned, you have to know your enemy: When Maggi thinks about differentiation, they immediately think about Knorr. Both brands use comparable products to address their customers—people who want a little help in the kitchen. "Maggi Chili Con Carne" against "Knorr for Chili Con Carne"—the only way to do this is with clear positioning.

Let’s compare their positioning. "With Maggi your food tastes great, it is fun, healthy, fresh, and easily prepared for sure results," is the promise on the Maggi website. Knorr on the other hand goes with "Eating with Knorr is easy and fun." Differentiation based on a value proposition? Wrong! Both brands differentiate themselves from frozen food and semi-processed products through their value proposition. But you are hard pushed to find any real differentiation on product-related grounds. Both companies enjoy success based on their reputation and the fact that they differ from each other—not in their product range, but in their positioning. They focus on the same market but address different target groups.

Maggi helps you to prepare a delicious meal in a short time. "Help" is the brand essence. Maggi focuses on making the cooking experience easier, quicker, and yummier, from the serving recommendations to the culinary studio where aproned employees display the joys of convenience cooking. Knorr’s positioning, in contrast, focuses on innovation: "The recipe for success: tradition and innovation, coupled with a great love of good food," is the statement on their website. Tradition and love are important values, but they do not serve to differentiate. That is accomplished by innovation. This is not to say that Maggi is not innovative, but Knorr proudly plays with the innovation theme, innovative product lines, and modern packaging.

The important thing is that customers are guided by the respective positioning—either to the red-yellow Maggi shelf or the green-white Knorr shelf. It all depends on whether you prefer a little support with your cooking, or whether you wish to explore and try out new things in the kitchen. Clearly defined positioning helps buyers to make their decision, while leaving no space at all for the competition.