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  • Bobbi Harris

Kellogg’s vs. Post – Relevant Again in 2020

Every marketing 101 class and many business publications have shared this Great Depression story over the years. It reminds us of another time when businesses struggled to stay open. In today’s #COVID19 world, I want to remind you of the lessons we can learn from another time in our history when companies laid off workers, closed doors and didn’t think they could continue “business as usual.”


In the late nineteen-twenties, two companies—Kellogg and Post—dominated the market for packaged cereal. It was still a relatively new market: Ready-to-eat cereal had been around for decades, but Americans didn’t see it as a real alternative to oatmeal or cream of wheat until the 1920s. So, when the Depression hit, no one knew what would happen to consumer demand. Post did the predictable thing: it reined in expenses and cut back on advertising. But Kellogg doubled its ad budget, moved aggressively into radio advertising, and heavily pushed its new cereal, Rice Krispies. By 1933, even as the economy cratered, Kellogg’s profits had risen almost 30 percent and it had become what it remains today: the industry’s dominant player.


Of course, this is a condensed version of the story and surely many late nights, strategy sessions and heated boardroom discussions took place back then, just as they are now…


This is still an important lesson for businesses of all sizes around the globe. Maintaining your brand through various marketing initiatives is imperative and pulling back on your budget when times are hard could mean never regaining that presence again.


Even in this uncertain time, your company needs marketing guidance and leadership. Fractional CMO services from Smart Water Smart City can help you strategically plan and keep your business moving forward.

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