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Is Brand Awareness Essential for Small Businesses?

April 9, 2017

Brand Awareness In An Age Before It Was A ‘Thing’

 Generations of Israeli children have grown up on HaShachar HaOleh (Rising Dawn) the dense chocolate spread that’s cheap, tasty and spoil-proof. You’ve probably never heard of it, but its local brand awareness is so strong, it’s mostly associated with the national religious holiday of Passover, much like Easter Eggs are associated with Easter. No real connection, but it’s chocolate and it’s sweet and – you’ll learn more about the why later on. Introduced more than 60 years ago by a small candy factory in Haifa, it’s become the the leading chocolate spread producer in Israel, with over 50% of the domestic market share. But not for long.
 
brand awareness

Opening The Markets Can Threaten Small Businesses

The introduction of Israel’s Cornflakes’ reform in 2015 has allowed freer competition for food imports, lifting protectionist policies for domestic manufacturers. The reform was mainly aimed at the large company monopolies strangling food affordability, but it’s also affected smaller Israeli companies with narrow product ranges, such as HaShachar HaOleh.

Testing Brand Strength of Passover

Israel consumes about 6.5 tons of chocolate spread a year, in a market that costs about NIS 160 million per annum. Passover is an especially popular time for eating chocolate spread in Israel, with sales spiking as people look for something to spread on their matzah. Marketing campaigns advertising chocolate spread evoke nostalgic childhood memories while advising customers of the delicious combination of chocolate and matzah.  
 
In anticipation of the upcoming holiday next week, we explored the visual impact of the two chocolate spread competitors HaShachar HaOleh and Nutella. Whose visuals dominate the digital space? How does this influence the affection Israelis have for HaShachar HaOleh? And does this affect sales?
 
Nutella dominates the Chocolate Spread market in every country in which it operates, except for Israel.
The visual chatter is a close tie between the two, with HaShachar HaOleh holding a slight advantage over Nutella. When we saw the results, those familiar with the Israeli brand were surprised, expecting a stronger impact when measured against the foreign chocolate spread invader. 
 
Taking a straw poll in the office everyone associated Passover with HaShachar HaOleh. Like peanut butter and jelly, bangers and mash, Passover is synonymous with HaShachar HaOleh. Talk about brand awareness and strength.

Does Brand Recognition Affect Sales Figures?

Sales figures place it first in the chocolate spread market in Israel, but Israeli and international competitors have been chipping away at HaShachar HaOleh’s sales in recent years. Nutella dominates the chocolate spread’ market in every country in which it operates a jar of Nutella is sold every 2.5 seconds with the exception of Israel. 
 
brand awareness
 

Hard Lesson in Brand Awareness

The HaShachar HaOleh brand was built almost without any advertising investment – it didn’t need to with brand awareness so strong. But after competitors began targeting their customers with strong marketing campaigns, the company followed suit: they  developed new product lines and invested heavily in advertising, reminding Israeli consumers that they grew up on HaShachar HaOleh. 
 
The company understood that the main strength of the brand, apart from its taste and its nostalgic connection to childhood, is its Israeliness. Where its campaign slogan was once enjoy like a child’, it’s now Also Israeli, also tasty’.  
 
Passover is quintessentially a family holiday with a focus on children and national pride. HaShachar HaOleh has capitalized on these emotions and held strong to its market leadership. But, if the visual chatter continues this trend, the dawn of Israeli chocolate spread may be over soon.
 
 

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