Brand Extension Research: Case History - DOLE
A Consumer-centric Approach
When Dole management hired us to study their brand, the portfolio of items under the Dole brand consisted largely of canned pineapple slices, pieces, juice, and some other commodities such as bananas, mushrooms, melons, etc. Still, the consumer equated Dole with pineapples. The objective of the company was to move beyond commodity items and pineapple specifically to launch more profitable value-added foods and beverages. The company relayed that pineapple appeals to a segment of the population, but the hope was that the brand could be extended to broader appeal non-pineapple products.


Leverage an Ingredient
The results of the study of Dole revealed (not unexpectedly) a strong connection to pineapple. However, the associations with pineapple were fresh, clean, bright, sunny, and the imagery of a wholesome outdoor lifestyle. It was seen as the best of Hawaii – the fun, the food and sunshine in the most exotic and romantic of settings. Dole represented a “Sunshine Lifestyle,” which translated to sunshine fruits and products that would contain these. Dole was perceived to be all natural, not full of additives or preservatives.

Defining the 'Business' of the Brand
As a result, a variety of brand extensions emerged from this work:

• Dole frozen Fruit ‘N Juice Bars
• Dole Fruit Sorbet
• Dole Fruit ‘N Cream Bars
• Dole 100% refrigerated Pineapple Breakfast Juice (and other blends such as pineapple orange)
• Dole Whole Fruit Coolers

Although all of these product lines originally included a pineapple flavor, the dominant seller was often some other flavor like strawberry or orange. As predicted, the consumer welcomed non-pineapple flavors from Dole. The Fruit 'N Juice Bars, for example, were a characteristic product containing only fruit and juice. This stayed true to the leverage point that Dole was natural, not manufactured or artificial.


Creating a Brand Plan
Using the "sunshine lifestyle" definition of the business, we cooperated with Landor Associates in conducting an international survey about the Dole brand. The sunshine imagery was confirmed and an appropriate new logo was designed by Landor. Brand extension activity has continued at Dole with the launch of various items, some that contain pineapple and some that do not.