In Finland, Fazer Bakeries create a full line of bakery products for both everyday moments and special occasions. Despite being a market leader, the company saw declining consumption and market share. Its focus had been in increasing efficiency and ensuring sufficient production volumes. A turnaround was critical for returning the business to productive growth. The situation required a new, more consumer-oriented approach for developing both Fazer Bakeries’ strategy and product portfolio in Finland — and Marketing Clinic was instrumental in shaping the new approach.
Fazer Bakeries Finland is the leading bakery company in Finland. Fazer Bakeries’ offerings are comprehensive, covering freshly baked, pre-packed, frozen and long shelf-life breads as well as shop-in-shop operations. In addition, the company’s bakery shops aim to inspire consumers with high-quality, hand-baked, fresh artisanal breads, baked goods and other delicacies. Beyond Finland, Fazer Bakeries is in a leading position in St Petersburg and Moscow and has a major presence across northern Europe with bakeries in Sweden and the Baltic countries.
A market leader needs to lead the market
During the last few years, Fazer Bakeries in Finland faced many market changes, including decreased sales volumes and more intense competition. Through this same period, the company made many internal changes. The core focus of the company had been on efficient production processes and utilization of production lines. This had resulted in a loss of focus on what was happening in the market — specifically, how customer needs were evolving in Finland and how Fazer Bakeries’ product portfolio was addressing these new demands.
As a market leader in Finland, Fazer Bakeries wanted to both address new and more diverse consumer needs as well as maximize the impact of its brands. This situation motivated Fazer Bakeries to pursue a more consumer-oriented strategy and a product portfolio to promote profitable growth in Finland. For this, Fazer Bakeries turned to Marketing Clinic.
“One of the main reasons for partnering up with Marketing Clinic was their solid knowhow and expertise in the food and retail business, especially in Finland”, explains Markus Hellström, Managing Director of Fazer Bakeries Finland.
Facing the facts
The 6-month-long project consisted of several phases — all of which directly engaged the top management of Fazer Bakeries Finland. This began with a current state analysis — an in-depth consumer and market analysis conducted by Marketing Clinic together with Fazer’s insight team.
“The current state analysis was one of the most essential parts of the project. We got a comprehensive view of the market development and our performance overall and within various product categories. This helped us to establish some common ground and mutual understanding of where we were. This was the first critical step towards our development of a more consumer-oriented approach — in the management team as well as across the whole organization”, says Tiina Sell, Commercial Development Director at Fazer Bakeries, who acted as a Fazer’s Project Manager in the strategy project. Tiina had previously worked in international organizations that embraced a customer-oriented approach in their core, and upon joining Fazer in 2015, one of her top responsibilities was to lead this strategy project.
“We always knew we had the relevant customer and market data. But during this project, we finally learned how to utilize it to its fullest — and we saw where we had previously failed to make the most of our data. The current state analysis provided a fact-based view of the situation and growth possibilities. This was a real eye-opener for us”, Markus Hellström admits.
A thoroughly engaging process
All of Fazer Bakeries Finland’s management was active in the project, taking part in meetings and workshops prepared and facilitated by Marketing Clinic’s team. According to Hellström, this active management engagement was a key part of making the required changes happen — and paving the road from a more production-oriented approach to a truly consumer-oriented approach.
“In a way, the whole management team began to fully realize what it means for us to become a more consumer-oriented organization. We also made internal communications an essential part of this project so all relevant internal stakeholders understood the process to create commitment and excitement”, Hellström continues.
Keeping consumers at the heart
The created growth strategy consisted of several parts — an inspiring transformational purpose for Fazer Bakeries in Finland, prioritized growth areas based on consumption occasions and needs, product portfolio renewal and identifying must-win battles to guide implementation. Organizational structures and processes were adjusted accordingly. Marketing Clinic’s sister company Okimo Clinic was also involved, contributing to strategy visualization and video production — key elements that energized stakeholders throughout the process.
Perhaps the most significant outcome of the project was the transformation of Fazer Bakeries in Finland from a production-oriented organization to a truly consumer-oriented organization. The new strategy also aligned Fazer Bakeries to utilize the power of its already renowned and beloved brands more thoroughly in Finland.
“Marketing Clinic’s consistent and systematic approach really took us forward in our strategy development. And the team involved in this project was top notch.”
– Markus Hellström, Managing Director of Fazer Bakeries Finland
“This process drove us to become a more consumer-oriented organization — from top management to all employee levels. It was tremendously exciting to see this change in mindset — and to see it happen so rapidly. We were able to define a crystal clear direction and purpose that everybody believed in — to satisfy the hunger for life by crafting wellness and pleasure into everyday moments”, Tiina Sell explains.
”Companies that are looking to take on similar projects should definitely approach Marketing Clinic for help. Marketing Clinic’s consistent and systematic approach really took us forward in our strategy development. And the team involved in this project was top notch — they brought in a necessary outside perspective, challenged us in constructive ways and continually reminded us to consider the consumer point-of-view”, Hellström concludes.