Positioning stevia on the Danish market: Branding through a holistic approach using NP Sweet as a case

Bianca Legorreta & Katarina Krohg

Student thesis: Master thesis


In November 2011 the sweetener stevia was approved by the EU, and the sweetener is gradually starting to show up on shelves in the Danish supermarkets and specialty stores. This report attempts to create the best possible positioning strategy for the company NP Sweet and finding a place on the market for its prospective stevia product. By taking point of departure in the debate about health and sweeteners, a depiction of a segment surfaces: women within the age 20‐34. In the combination of classical branding theories and social constructionist thought, the positioning and the critical discourse theory encounter with the purpose of creating branding in context. The social constructionism says that the subjective and the objective do not make sense by themselves and that the social reality is an indispensible factor; the place where the two interact and generate meaning. In this same direction, Popper takes point of departure in the social sphere that includes the physical, the psychological and the social aspects. These two together create the standpoint for this report, which will take all relevant aspects into consideration and account for the context to a higher degree. It can be argued that within the report, a situation analysis is performed aiming to assemble all the elements that can help construct the brand. The primary branding theories used are Keller’s positioning theory as well as Aaker’s brand identity, which can be combined to attain a strategy that is simple, applicable and comprehensive. Methods used to obtain relevant data are chosen based on the principle of triangulation. The instruments used are a questionnaire, a focus group and a critical discourse analysis, where the latter serves to depict the consumer’s context and which perspective on health and sweeteners that penetrates the Danish society. Through the use of the questionnaire, various sweetener brand attributes were tested against each other as to detect which ones were preferred and by whom. Results show that the consumers who prefer natural sweeteners prefer a product which is natural, helps with the diet and offers easily attainable information on the product, whereas the ones who consume artificial sweeteners were more focused on sweet taste, zero calories, availability in supermarkets, convenience and that you are guilt free when consuming the product. The focus group provided information that enabled the stipulation of two main hegemonic target audiences within the segment. From this point and on, the positioning elements POP and POD can be defined. POPs were largely based on the attributes found in PureCircle and the PODs could not live up to the criteria of being desirable and deliverable. NP sweet is first and foremost advised to perform a value chain and brand audit of the sugar partner of NP Sweet, Nordzucker, with the objective of finding branding elements that can differentiate them from the competitive field, many of them who also use PureCircle as supplier. Competition is only seen to excel and so being more preemptive and proactive in their go‐to‐market strategy and focusing on developing a stevia product that exudes naturalness, genuineness and has qualities that makes it able to differentiate itself from the current and prospective competitors.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages212