BRANDING: Nestle hires Corporate Edge for NPD projects

Nestle UK's beverages division has hired Corporate Edge as its strategic agency for innovation and new product development across its entire range of Nescafe coffee brands.

Corporate Edge will identify and develop opportunities for products such as Nescafe Original, Gold Blend, Cappuccino, Alta Rica, and the Coffee Mate powdered milk substitute. It will devise ideas and see projects right through to market.

The appointment is unusual within the FMCG sector, as most branding agencies are hired for specific NPD work on a project-by-project basis. But Nestle is hoping that by building a longer term partnership, the agency will be able to adopt a more strategic approach to each of the brands.

Nestle has been striving to come up with ways to boost sales to counter the decline of its instant coffee brands Nescafe Original and Nescafe Gold Blend, in the face of the rising popularity of coffee bars and 'real coffee' brands. The parent brand lost 8.2% of its sales in the year to April 2002, according to Marketing's Biggest Brands survey (August 15).

Its most recent brand extension, Hot When You Want, the self-heating coffee in a can, was sent back to the drawing board last month after it failed to heat up sufficiently in cold weather.

Nestle's joint venture technical operation with Coca-Cola has been charged with revisiting the concept and devising a more efficient system.

Last week, Marketing exclusively revealed that Nestle is poised to make its first foray into the 'real coffee' market, with a range of 'ultra-premium' ground and roast coffees for cafetieres.

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