Brand Management course gives International Business students real life experience at Brand Fair 2012

Third-year bachelor students in International Business were given the opportunity to work on solving three branding cases proposed by the company ZON Venlo, one of the largest food horticultural cooperatives in Europe, as part of the Brand Management course .

The students were asked to develop re-branding strategies for the following projects:

Case 1: Blue, Blue, my world is blue

Through the acquisition of the German company “Heidefrucht”, ZON expanded its market position in the soft fruit area. The soft fruit division is currently responsible for about 12 percent of ZON Fruit & Vegetables’ annual turnover.

The main focus lies on blueberries. ZON’s product development team introduced dried blueberries, infused with apple juice concentrate as a 100 percent natural alternative for candy. The targeted distribution channel are PETROL stations, where the main shoppers are men.

The questions that ZON is facing now is how they could reposition SoFruity so that it is also appealing to other target groups. Blueberries are very healthy and contain more antioxidants than all other fruit. They were found to work anti-inflammatory, decrease cholesterol, help to prevent several illnesses, and provide lots of energy. And since blueberries also support the production of collagen, it can also be considered a natural anti-aging product. Therefore, dried blueberries should also be appealing to other target groups such as students, athletes, or kids.

How can ZON reposition SoFruity for different target groups?

Case 2: WITGOUD to conquer the retail sector?

Two years ago, ZON introduced a premium brand for asparagus, called WITGOUD, i.e. asparagus is traditionally referred to as “the white gold’. Dutch white asparagus is a seasonal product and is only produced from Easter until June 24th.

So far, WITGOUD has been sold exclusively to high-end food service companies such as Hanos. Now ZON wonders whether WITGOUD should also be introduced in the retail sector. Is there a place of a fresh brand in the Dutch retail segment? If yes, in which type of supermarkets should WITGOUD be sold? Given that the typical asparagus shopper is 50+ and lives in the South, how should the brand be positioned in the consumer’s mind so that favorable brand perceptions are created? Or do you think that it is possible to reach out to a different target audience, e.g. young shoppers?

How should ZON develop the new brand concept and create sufficient awareness?

Case 3: Cool Juices

ZON has decided to introduce a new product line: fresh juice, straight from the farmer. The juices will be called Sappers and will be positioned as pure juice from 100 percent real fruit without any additives or preservatives. With this new product line, ZON aims to play out the trend towards a healthier lifestyle with more fruit consumptions per day.

What would be the ideal target audience for Sappers? How should the brand be positioned in the market? And how can ZON create awareness and generate initial trial?

The major challenges that they are facing are (a) a limited budget for the campaign (b) increasing power of retailers of which some have their own juices (c) shelf competition in the cooling section from other brands.


Students presented their results on Monday 8 October during a Brand Fair at SBE .

“The students found very creative solutions to the cases and came up with coherent strategies to support them. And we found out that we have outstanding painters, chefs, and rap talents amongst our student population,” commented Brand Management course coordinator Elisabeth Brüggen.

Promotional video for Sappers 

The best three teams were invited to defend their strategic plans on Thursday 18 October in front of a jury consisting of company representatives and academic experts.


Claudia van Oppen, Staff member Business Development and Knowledge Transfer and Jury member, said that the jury found it “an extremely difficult task” to pick the winner, but finally opted for the SoFruity team’ branding strategy.

“Students showed that they were able to combine their academic theoretical knowledge and creativity to come up with valuable solutions to ZON’s branding problems,” added Van Oppen. “The marketing manager of ZON also indicated that she was impressed by the results.”

As for students, they said that they enjoyed this opportunity to put their theoretical knowledge into practice.


The Breaking Maas student channel spoked with students and Course coordinator Elizabeth Brüggen at the Brand Fair. (From 0’35 till 2’16)


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