Tackling child malnutrition
Danone Poland was perceived as a foreign brand distant from its consumers, lacking in ‘emotional proximity’ and losing ground to local competitors. We used the Sociovation® process to identify the opportunity for Danone to become a more integrated part of Polish society by contributing positively to the local community, in particular by helping to tackle Poland’s child malnutrition problem (30% of children were under-nourished). We helped coordinate the first national congress on infant malnutrition in Poland, and helped launch the initiative to Polish key opinion leaders. Subsequently we created the Danone ‘Share Your Meal’ social marketing campaign where every purchase of dairy products contributes to supplementary feeding programmes.
Since launch in 2003, over 10 million meals have been funded and distributed to children in need, with more than 50,000 children reached. Cumulatively over 30,000 people have volunteered their time, and a national institution similar to the UK’s Comic Relief has been created. In addition, a SYM Academy has been set up to work with local communities with highest malnutrition risk.
The SYM programme has led to reputational turnaround for Danone; consumer preference and trust for the brand have improved significantly – it is now a social equity ‘local hero’. Over the same period, Danone Poland’s profits have trebled. Based on this experience, a focus on malnutrition is now part of Danone’s global strategy.
We also introduced Danone Poland to ‘base of the pyramid’ innovation, co-developing a new business model and product designed to serve the nutritional needs of Polish children living below the poverty line. Mleczny Start gives Polish children living in poverty a highly nutritious meal with 25% of recommended daily intake of micronutrients at a very low cost.
Using European insight
Danone had achieved considerable success with its social innovation programmes in Poland but had not yet succeeded in replicating this to the same degree in its other Central European markets.
We used the GBSEI insight tool across 8 countries to help Danone understand its social equity performance, as well as the performance of its dairy competitors and broader “best in class” benchmarks.
We identified a number of additional markets where Danone has the potential to lead its category on social innovation, as well as identifying in each case the strategic platforms (or social equity factors) which are most likely to drive leadership.
In each case, we were able to demonstrate use of GBSEI to demonstrate the potential shift in preference which Danone could achieve, providing each local management team with a business case for social innovation.