A Spoonful of Zero Sugar

What happens when a company has all of the pieces to create a phenomenal product, but when introduced to the market that product falls far too short? One of Jeff’s many failure-to-success stories involved a well-known beverage company recognized for their unrivaled marketing campaigns and consistently profitable products. This company had created a break-through artificial sweetener that tasted much closer to sugar than any other artificial sweetener on the market with absolutely no calories. Along with this sweetener, the company created an aluminum bottle, which keeps beverages colder for longer and is being simpler to recycle than plastic. Their new product was a beverage that taste very similar to the the company’s most well known beverage, containing the new sweetener, and is packaged in the new bottle.

Following Jeff’s innovation principle of “failing early, often and off Broadway,” the company tested their new product in North Africa where it did very well. However, when the product hit U.S. shelves it bombed, due to the public’s lack of understanding the benefits it contained. At this point, the company called in Jeff to help them figure out what went wrong, how to fix it, and what their next move should be. Through the use of the Competing Values Framework and Jeff’s method of “connecting the dots,” the company was able to see that what they really had on their hands were three products: the sweetener, the bottle and the beverage.

After Jeff and the company sat down and examined their options, they found that the most lucrative move was to patent all three and sell them. The sweetener was packaged and marketed as a non calorie sweetener that tastes as natural as sugar. It is now sold in stores world-wide and used by major coffee houses such as Starbucks. The bottle was licensed to beer companies, who found that it keeps their beer cold longer while reducing their packaging costs. Finally, the beverage was given a shiny new name that evokes the company’s most popular product and repackaged in its original plastic bottle that America had grown to love. But it keeps the calorie-free sweetener. It is now one of the highest grossing beverages in the country.

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