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Agrimarketing : November December 2008
2008 PRODUCT OF THE YEAR/continued frompage 30 BUILDINGTHEHERCULEXBRAND L ike its namesake, themythical heroHercules, HERCULEX® XTRAInsect Protection has established a brand position synonymouswith strength and power. The success ofHERCULEX XTRAbegan in 2003 when DowAgroSciences prepared to launch its first HERCULEX Insect Protection trait—HERCULEX I. DowAgroSciences and its agency,Bader Rutter & Associates, employed a thorough brand strategy process to launch the newtechnology,which brought a powerful insect control option to corn growers. “Sincemultiple companieswould license the trait technology, the challengewas to create a brand thatwas constant, yet flexible enough for all companies to use,” recalls Rodger Jones, VP/BrandManagement Director at Bader Rutter. “Thiswas an important decision that gave theHERCULEX brand a consistent voice fromthe beginning.” Together,DowAgroSciences and Bader Rutter brought life to all key dimensions of the brand, includ- ing the brand identity and position, the brand portfolio strategy, the brand name, graphic identity,messages and creative platform. The solutionwas to combine the nameHERCULEX with a simple but distinctive shield to convey the pro- tection provided by the trait. In addition, the first and last hard-edged letters of the name, “H” and “X”were added to the shield for design drama and to serve as a mnemonic device to enhance name retention. “The logo remains a strong visual element of the brand today and is seen in all aspects of the brand’s marketing and public relations support,” says Jones. FROMTHE OUTSET, HERCULEXWAS TO BE A FAMILYOF TRAITS Bader Rutter had an advantage of realizing that the HERCULEX I traitwas only the tip of the iceberg in terms of discovery. So, to strengthen the brand fromthe very start,HERCULEX became the “driver brand” and a suffix was added for future additions.HERCULEXI (2003)was the leading trait, providing protection fromabove-ground pests, followed byHERCULEX RWRootworm Protection (2005) for below-ground pest protection, and finally, HERCULEX XTRAInsect Protection (2005),with both above- and below-ground control. This cohesive portfolio strategy allowed each newtrait technology to build upon the positive brand equity of the preceding trait(s). RESEARCH POINTS TO A POWERFUL NAME The teamconceptedmultiple name options for the new trait technology and tested the finalistswith the target audience of corn growers. “The nameHERCULEX rose to the top of the list. It was a name that had positive connotations for the brand. The nameHERCULEXwas derived because the Greek heroHerculeswas renowned for his great strength,” says Jones. “HERCULEX served to draw attention to the powerful protection offered by this new generation trait.” Next, the teamworked to develop a logo thatwould leverage the strength of the name. “The challengewas tomake a strong name even stronger through its visual treatment,” says Jones. 32 AgriMarketing s November/December 2008 CREATING A POSITIVE BRAND IMPRESSION, HIGH RECOGNITION After the name and logowere secured, the agency con- ductedmarket research to help the brand teamsort out the bestmessages to achieve the desired brand position. “Corn growers shared their views on severalmessage options, and those that really created interest and had relevance rose to the top,” says Jones. Those ideas are consistentwith themessaging today,as the brand strat- egy gave theHERCULEX family a solid foundation fromwhich to grow. Recent independent studies showthat brand aware- ness forHERCULEX has been established in themar- ketplace at 95 percent aided; exceeding expectations for a four-year-old brand. “The powerful trait technology ofHERCULEX XTRAgot a real boost froma compelling andwell- planned brand strategy,”says Jones. “The Dow AgroSciences brand teamwas crucial to the success. Their teamwas comprised of cross-functionalmembers, including Ben Kaehler andWally Thingelstad,who helped create the comprehensive brand strategy.” AM
American Seed Trade Association