Feedback Leads to Innovation for Philly Cream Cheese

December 27, 2011By

Philadelphia Cream Cheese.

Philly Cream Cheese Website

Many people recognize the brand. It’s been around for decades. People have long used the cheese to spread on bagels, pretzels and other goodies. The spread makes for a delicious add-on for many foods.

The brand lived on for many years focusing on the single value its leaders thought it had as a spread. That was until just a few years ago when the folks at Philly Cream Cheese discovered that people were being innovative with the spread and using it for more than just spreading.

The Philly Cream Cheese Story

From Philly Cream Cheese’s Spreading Appeal:

Philly’s resurgence began in 2008, when Kraft researchers learned that frequent buyers of cream cheese were using it as a cooking ingredient, not just as a schmear. “That was quite an eye-opener for us,” says Tuscany native Piero Capizzi, president of Cheese & Grocery in Europe, where Philly generates more than a third of its sales. “It gave us an idea to change our strategy.”

It’s hard to believe that it was only about four years ago when the company realized how people were using their product. I think back to the times I have used Philly Cream Cheese in different recipes. There is a great recipe for yellow squash soup that includes two entire packs of the delicious spread. I’ve also seen others use cream cheese for everything from cookies to roasts. It’s delicious and you can’t beat the creamy texture the spread adds to any dish.

The interesting part of the Philly Cream Cheese story is two-fold:

  1. The company had a realization about their product
  2. They were able to implement a successful content strategy to take advantage of the momentum

It’s a great story of 21st Century marketing and how you can put new life in even the oldest of brands.

Customer Feedback and Content Strategy

The customer feedback Philly Cream Cheese had in 2008 was great. The leaders at the company realized how their customers were innovating with the brand. It’s one thing to realize your product or service is being used in ways you aren’t aware of. The thing that’s even more important is what you do with the momentum of this realization.

What Philly Cream Cheese did was implement a successful content strategy.

If you go to the Philly Cream Cheese website today you’ll notice all kinds of great content. They’ve partnered with one of TV’s biggest food personalities, Paula Deen. The website has recipes that are easy to create right at home. Customers have sent in their own recipes, the brand has published these, and now the customers feel like they’re part of the evolution of the Philly brand.

The customer feedback loop was used wonderfully by Philly Cream Cheese. They took into account what was working for their customers and used the proper amount of feedback to create a content strategy that led to increased sales and profit. The brand has grown in the past year and it appears well positioned for the future.

I think there are two important things to take away from the Philly Cream Cheese content strategy success story:

1. Customers don’t always use your products as you intended

Entreprenuers learn all the time that business models change. Philly used to think their product was used for spreading. Once they listened to their customers they realized how they could expand the use of their product and it led to increased profits.

2. Use the right amount of feedback to innovate your business model

In today’s world it’s important to use the right amount of feedback. It is possible to take too much feedback into consideration and steer a company and its products in the wrong direction. I think Philly Cream Cheese used the appropriate amount of feedback to give their customers enough consideration while expanding the usefulness of the cream cheese. Today, the brand is thriving once again. The content strategy the brand created is a great showcase of how companies can work with customers to increase a brand’s appeal, which in this case increased profits.