You probably think this was a standard internship story with common tasks, but it was an experience of a lifetime. We will narrate the unique and inspirational story of David Krenkel's internship experience at Mars Incorporated. David Krenkel grew up in the Czech
Republic and was always passionate about the business world, especially marketing, from a very young age. He always dreamed about being part of a big corporation, which eventually came to reality in July 2019.
Let's jump right into it. David started working for the company in July 2019 and was quickly assigned to manage the product section of the mints & hard candy portfolio based on an extensive analysis of where he would be the best fit. This area required attention to reach a desirable potential since it hadn't been through innovative changes for a long time.
While working for Mars, David was also pursuing a master's degree in marketing and international business at the Prague University of Economics and Business, one of the most recognized business schools in the world. This academic background was essential for the company since they were looking for fresh and capable minds to take on projects that required a new perspective and an analytic approach. David had a broad analytical background with certifications from companies like Google. He could apply everything he was learning in the master's program in real-time, helping the firm increase its revenue to 4 million euros within the portfolio.
The goal was to evaluate the portfolio and recognize why it was declining. He concluded that the current Orbit Professional Mint was no longer performing as expected. Without even being David's assignment, he quickly uncovered, based on the successful results in other European markets, that the timing was perfect for executing a brand extension strategy and creating a different product from the Orbit Professional Mints. This expansion within the product line was a growth strategy that added value to the already well-known brand. Because of the powerful Orbit gum brand, the extension wouldn't be an issue for the company due to established positive brand associations, loyal customers, brand recognition, awareness, and quality products.
What was successful about the launch?
During David's market analysis, he recognized the decline of Orbit Professional Mints in several European countries, putting the entire mints portfolio at risk of getting delisted by Mars Incorporated as the products were not considered customers favorite. Moreover, David Krenkel conducted an extensive analysis of the hard candy category through the company's internal and external data to identify a solution. He focused primarily on net sales volume, sales volume, price, listings in modern trade and traditional trade, position on the checkout, and average weighted distribution. He even went further and analyzed other European markets to uncover what is currently working in the hard candy category and current trends within the industry.
He stated that one of the reasons customers didn't like the product was that Orbit Professional mints were sold in a handy pack format, which did not fit customers' pockets easily. This was an issue because the customer survey revealed that hard candy customers prefer the smaller packaging that could easily fit into pockets for convivence. The only successful format was Orbit mints in rolls under the top-selling chewing gum flavors. This brand extension had proven a halo effect, helped Orbit mints sales, and made this format successful for future innovations. In terms of marketing, the halo effect describes consumers' preference toward a line of products due to positive experience with existing products from the brand, in our case, through positive experiences with Orbit gum and meeting consumers' expectations.
Mr. Krenkel decided to pursue the idea of introducing Orbit mints within his region and contacted the Poznan (Poland) factory to ensure the product introduction would be possible in terms of capacity to source from 3 additional countries. When accepted, the factory provided samples to move forward. Once top management approved the introduction of Orbit mints Spearmint and Orbit mints, Strong mint started being executed and released in February 2021. Finally, the launch was successful since customers preferred the new packaging and flavors, reaching a net sales value of 4 million euros, strengthening its market share and positioning in the hard candy category, and achieving a positive purchasing experience for all clients.
This experience led David to conclude that outside-the-box thinking can lead to incredible results. What was an afternoon filled with brainstorming turned into an approved strategy for one of the most successful companies in the world. Therefore, David advises always looking at any possible option when given a problem and never taking no for an answer. While starting to work on this project, he would never have imagined it would turn into a grand launch in Central Europe under the global brand Orbit. What began as a 3-month internship turned into two years of work experience that skyrocketed the range of opportunities and abilities for the future.