Inspiring Innovation and Classical Marketing at a Family Owned, Mid-Cap Company

Retailers were seizing more and more power in the Office Products category as they consolidated the commercial and retail sectors, largely because manufacturers were not innovating enough, and manufacturers were under-investing in marketing support. Sales and profits had been sluggish in recent years, and the company was on a path to miss its fiscal year financial goals. Family leadership wanted to instill a more consumer driven approach into their company, build stronger brands, and ultimately improve profits.

 

Strategic Action:

 

  • Led development of a strategic plan that focused on differentiating the company’s brands from competitors, and stemming private label inroads.
     

  • Built a stronger team by recruiting new talent and developing existing employees who seized the opportunity to drive change. Launched a new talent development process that transitioned the company to a performance based culture of innovation and accountability.
     

  • Focused more resources on new product innovation, leadership and talent development, and marketing support.
     

  • Implemented a stage gated innovation process to accelerate fewer, bigger, more consumer meaningful new products, and fail faster on bad ideas. While the number of new products declined, the percentage of sales sourced from new products doubled in three years.
     

  • Created new capabilities for consumer insight, category management and digital marketing.
     

  • Attacked trade spending and reduced returns by 300%, reducing ship-to-net sales deductions -5.2 percentage point of net sales. Most of these funds were reallocated to more productive consumer-focused marketing support and product development.
     

  • Selected and partnered with Foote, Cone & Belding to develop a new positioning and award-winning marketing campaign for Fellowes Shredders that fueled significant consumption increases, higher levels of brand awareness, and improved brand equity metrics.
     

  • Developed and launched the first safe-sense shredder to address safety concerns.
     

  • Restaged the Bankers Box brand, persuasively communicating product superiority to strengthen category dominance.
     

  • Returned the Body Glove brand to profitability with a recipe of innovation and supply chain simplification.
     

  • Implemented a channel strategy to focus marketing and sales efforts where they deliver the largest ROI.
     

  • Simplified the supply chain by eliminating over 40% of skus and reducing inventory.

 

Result:

  • Increased EBITDA, EBITDA margin, and company valuation.
     

  • Improved cash flow and strengthened the balance sheet.

“Jude is an inspirational leader who fosters an environment of strong teamwork and drives goal-oriented decision making.”

- John Fellowes, President & CEO at Fellowes

 

 “Jude is one of the most remarkable leaders with whom I have associated. He has a unique ability to inspire the highest level of commitment and performance by his leaders, provide incredible strategy and leadership through difficult periods, and fosters a high performing team culture throughout the organization.”

- Tim Bennett, Vice President at MPG Drug, a division of Crossmark