Good Fruit Grower

January 2014

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GOOD POINT Des O'Rourke, Belrose, Inc. Consider the market For a new apple variety to succeed, the marketer must understand what drives consumer and retailer preferences. Above all, it is influenced by how consumers can incorporate the appeal or any apple grower, packer, or marketer making plans for the next decade, no decision of an apple variety into their own value system. is as important as the choice of variety to hanTargeted marketing dle. That choice continues to widen. It ranges Sponsors of managed varieties recognize that their variety must tell a from traditional favorites like Red Delicious story that will resonate with their target consumers. Among the pioneers and Granny Smith, new powerhouses like Gala and Fuji, the latest phehave been Apple and Pear Australia Limited with its sensual promonomenon, Honeycrisp, and an endless stream of new varieties that tions for Pink Lady aimed at adventurous young women. are emerging from breeding programs around the world. ENZA Limited has focused on the "tangy-sweet taste There is widespread agreement on what any variety and loud crunch of Jazz." Kanzi apples tempt conneeds to be successful. External cues, like shape, sumers with their claim to be a "hidden treasure." skin color, skin brightness, size distribution, Sponsors of Ambrosia proudly proclaim that its stem health, etc., are important. Internal name means "gift of the gods." Clearly, the cues, such as flesh color, firmness, initial name and the marketing story of each varitaste experience, consistency of taste, ety have become critical in winning etc., must be comparable to those of What unique story will the variety bring that can woo a loyal following. apples already on the market. Robustretailers and consumers? In a very insightful article in ness in the production, packing, and Adweek, September 30, 2013, called marketing channels is also importWhat price premium can be expected initially and over the longer "Your Content is Dead to Me," Jon ant. A high packout of the most term? Hamm argues that "the most powdesirable grades and sizes, resiserful stories happen in the mind tance to bruising, storage life, What fees will be involved for trees, production rights, marketing proof the audience, making each and etc., all have a major impact grams, etc.? every story unique and personal on a variety's profitability. for the individual.... When we Usually, growers can draw on Do you view this variety as one that can become a mainstream variety, a start to program a brand, we a wide range of research and specialty variety, or one aimed at exclusive retail customers? need to understand the full narextension expertise in learnrative and which parts of the ing about the crucial aspects Will it appeal to current apple eaters, or will it attract new buyers to the apple story we need to create, which of each variety. category? to co-create with the audience Many existing varieties and which to leave to allow and numerous new varieties Which variety will it compete against most directly for shelf space? the audience to impart and that are coming down the complete their own meaning." pike can meet these tradiGetting consumers to buy into a tional criteria. Indeed, the Will you be targeting the U.S. domestic market or export markets? new apple brand is a very subtle market is overloaded with exercise indeed. excellent apple varieties. The future will be dominated What is the rollout plan for the variety. For example, how many boxes Piece of the action by those varieties that have Retailers have been willing to do you plan to market in year 1, year 5, and year 10? the greatest market appeal to accommodate consumers by stockretailers and consumers. What is the marketing and promotional plan for the variety? ing a wider array of apple varieties More demanding and allowing many new varieties to consumers be tested in their stores. However, they, Thirty years ago, consumers fit into How experienced is the marketer in too, want a new product that will perneat market segments. Young families commercializing other new varieties, suade shoppers to choose their stores over liked Red Delicious, older folks liked Golden and how successful have they been? rival stores and will also enhance the image Delicious, eastern consumers liked McInof their stores. Increasingly, the competition for tosh, and upper-income consumers preferred —DesO'Rourke the favor of retailers depends on the intangible and tart Granny Smith apples. Over time, mass markets difficult to measure appeal that any new apple can broke into ever-smaller market niches, and these niches project. The fate of each variety is increasingly dependent are starting to break into numerous market slivers. Today's on the marketing prowess of the firm, or firms, that handle it. consumer has become accustomed to having products that are tailored to Different emphasis in future his or her personal preferences. Individual choice has become paramount. There are many, many excellent apple varieties that growers could Personalization is most advanced in products like the mobile phone. choose to plant. Washington's traffic associations currently track more than Consumers can choose the size, weight, memory capacity, camera type, 50 varieties. Not yet tracked separately are emerging varieties like Envy, price, etc., that meet their individual needs. They can personalize ring Isaaq, Kalei, Kanzi, Rockit, and Smitten. It will continue to be important to tones, or have different ring tones for different contacts. They can choose choose varieties that meet high standards for internal quality, external qualfrom a million apps that can enhance their user experience. While such ity, and robustness in handling. However, an even more vital consideration detailed specifications are not yet as widespread in apple varieties, even will be that the marketing firm handling the variety understands the subtle there, consumers are moving towards multiple options of size, shape, color, forces that now drive consumer and retailer preferences. Unfortunately, acidity, brand, etc. there is little research or extension expertise that growers can draw on in Even within a single household, different individuals prefer different choosing the best marketer. They will have to ferret that out for themselves apple varieties. These preferences are constantly evolving as consumers by in-depth discussions with potential marketers. are exposed to new variety choices. On each shopping occasion, consumers balance their need for the familiar against their desire for novelty. That Dr. O'Rourke is president of Belrose, Inc., Pullman, Washington, balance is influenced by their spending power and social status, by the publisher of the monthly "World Apple Report." preferences of family, neighbors and acquaintances, and by how much they are exposed to samples, promotions, and displays of alternative varieties. TEN QUESTIONS to ask your marketer 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 12 JANUARY 1, 2014 GOOD FRUIT GROWER 10

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