Kraft Unveils New Brand Identity

NEW YORK Kraft Foods today unveiled a new corporate logo and brand identity, a move analysts say could better position the food company against private label goods.
Kraft, which owns brands like Velveeta and Oreo, is making the announcement at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York Conference, currently taking place in Boca Raton, Fla. Bearing the slogan, “Make today delicious,” the new Kraft logo consists of an upward, red smile exploding into an array of seven “flavor bursts,” each of which represents a different division of Kraft’s business. (The triangular shape, for instance, is meant to evoke Kraft’s DiGiorno pizza brand.) The logo will begin appearing on the back and side panels of Kraft-branded foods worldwide. Kraft worked with design agency Nitro on the launch.
The food giant has undergone a series of logo and name changes throughout its 106-year history. The latest logo, however, is an attempt by Kraft to distinguish between its corporate and product brand identity. In a recent interview with Brandweek, Kraft chief marketing officer Mary Beth West said the company felt the need to redefine its mission, especially as Kraft reaches the turning point of CEO Irene Rosenfeld’s three-year growth plan.

Rosenfeld first outlined the turnaround strategy in a room full of skeptics at Cagny in 2007, in part due to questions about Kraft’s ability to take on private label. By “rewiring” the organization to give local brand managers more accountability and “reframing” Kraft’s portfolio of brands to compete outside of key product categories, the company would be more hard-wired for growth, Rosenfeld told analysts. But the strategy has yet to yield results as private label took a big bite out of Kraft’s sales in the fourth quarter, with profits down 72 percent.

“In some ways, this really is all about Kraft Foods. It’s about our next step in the evolution of getting ourselves to top-tier performance. Going forward, it defines, unifies and simplifies our employees and gets everyone thinking about one common purpose,” West said of Kraft’s new brand identity.

The new logo was conceived as part of a several month design process, where more than 7,000 employees and consumers worldwide were asked for their feedback. Kraft asked consumers in cities like Chicago, Paris and Shanghai questions such as: “What do you look for in a food company?” “How do you engage with food generally?” and “What are the moments of that relationship that are important to you?”
The findings resulted in a corporate logo that is “more contemporary, the colors are more vibrant and it has a life to it,” West said. The existing blue, white and red Kraft Foods logo — which until now functioned as both the corporate and product logo — will remain as the product logo only on Kraft-branded products such as salad dressing, West said.
An updated brand identity has the potential of giving Kraft a boost over private label, said Mintel senior analyst Marcia Mogelonsky. While the old logo was certainly well recognized among consumers, “perhaps it was so easily recognized that it was becoming overlooked,” especially as store brands mimicked national brands in packaging elements such as design, typeface and colors.

Ralph Blessing, a senior partner and managing director at GfK Strategic Innovation’s Chicago office, said such initiatives usually provide a new or emerging point of focus for brands. In Kraft’s case, he said, it keeps the brand “contemporary and relevant” and encourages the communication of what is important. And with food, “taste is almost always the No. 1 criteria.”