Weaving brand purpose into the fabric of Fonterra

fonterra case study dairy sustainability
The global dairy nutrition company made sustainability a core tenet of their brand, building long-term differentiation and ultimately profit.
Pooja Passi, Global Insights Manager, Fonterra:“This landmark study gave Insights a seat at the highest table, and this would not have been possible if our insights were not path-breaking.”
Tim Opie, GM Global Insights & Strategic Planning, Fonterra:“This strategic work has re-framed Fonterra's strategy by showing there is no one-size-fits-all approach, paving the way for targeted and bold story telling that unlocks Fonterra’s rich wealth of capabilities to create value.”


A rising tide of environment consciousness is causing many global brands to weave purpose into the fabric of their businesses. Brands now have ‘to do the right thing’ or risk consumer backlash.

Fonterra is committed to sustainable dairy through the way they produce their products; however, they have not been good at communicating the same.

Given the huge commitment and investment needed, clear research-based evidence was required to prove the importance of, and potential opportunity related to, venturing into this new space.


We used 1-2 key questions along with Kantar Brand Structural modelling, as well as non-survey data, to build holistic and powerful stories related to sustainability.  

We covered 9 key markets in 4 continents. 


We uncovered huge potential to execute sustainability claims, to meet rising expectations, and build long term differentiation.

However, each Fonterra growth market is at a different place when it comes to sustainability (and expectations), so no one-size-fits-all solution would work – we had to focus on the relevant purpose for each market.

Also, it was imperative to contextualise the story and add local nuances to have a deeper impact when communicating the brand purpose.

It was essential to put consumers at the heart of the brand purpose, and avoid repeating the mistake of those who forced one brand purpose across several markets and failed.


The study engaged the Global C-Suite and made Fonterra re-frame their 3,5 and 10-year Corporate, B2B & B2C brand sustainability strategies.

The insights provided a clear roadmap and growth plans, which brought everyone (especially the Board and C-suite) onboard to commit substantial resources to own the new space and re-think how they reward and incentivise performance.

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