HEINZ CHIEF GIVES BRANDING ADVICE

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- One of the chief challenges facing brand marketers is determining how to grow a mature brand in a well-matured market. But it's possible to successfully meet that challenge by making the right assumptions and taking the right action, according to William R. Johnson, chairman, president and chief executive officer, H.J. Heinz Co.Johnson described his outlook on how to

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- One of the chief challenges facing brand marketers is determining how to grow a mature brand in a well-matured market. But it's possible to successfully meet that challenge by making the right assumptions and taking the right action, according to William R. Johnson, chairman, president and chief executive officer, H.J. Heinz Co.

Johnson described his outlook on how to keep brands fresh in a presentation at a session of the Grocery Manufacturers of America's Executive Conference here last month.

His imperatives that set out how to seek brand value and growth include these: * OPTIMISM: The category in question can grow. It's necessary to begin by making that assumption.

BE SMART: There are many targeted opportunities available that will foster growth. Be smart enough to recognize them.

REINVENT: Recognize when a brand is in decline and strive to reinvent the brand identity. NEW RULES: If the category in question is constrained by rules that don't allow much flexibility, change the rules by inserting a new product, or dramatically changing the packaging.

LEVERAGE: If a category won't respond to brand-building initiatives in its traditional class of trade, take it to a new channel.

GLOBAL: If routes to domestic growth are closed, take the product elsewhere.