folder Filed in Rebrands
From One to Three: Kellogg's Strategic Transformation Through Spin Off Companies
By Tsani Gramatikova access_time 5 min read

Founded in 1906 by brothers Will Keith Kellogg and John Harvey Kellogg in Battle Creek, Michigan, USA, the Kellogg Company (doing business as Kellogg’s) is a multinational food manufacturer that produces a wide range of snacks, breakfast and convenience foods. Kellogg’s Corn Flakes was one of the earliest and most popular breakfast cereals in the United States.

The Kellogg Company has been known for its innovative and effective marketing campaigns. They were among the first companies to use radio and television advertising and pioneered celebrity endorsements. One of Kellogg’s most famous marketing campaigns was the creation of Tony the Tiger, the mascot for their Frosted Flakes cereal. Tony first appeared in 1952 and has since become a beloved icon of American pop culture.

“Kellogg” originated from the founders’ surname, who decided to use it as the brand name for their new venture. Since then, the Kellogg Company has become one of the world’s most recognisable brands. Many other well-known brands and companies, including Nike, Chevrolet, and Harley-Davidson, have used personal names as brand names. In a recent article, we explored how this naming strategy has played an essential role in businesses success.

In 2022, Kellogg’s underwent a significant transformation, splitting into three separate companies, following the trend of several other companies that have undergone restructuring to promote growth, including Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Toshiba (TOSBF), and GE.

According to Kellogg’s, the spin-off of the companies will enable each business to unlock its full potential better, particularly as the company has expanded through acquisitions in recent years. By further focusing on the individual companies, they can achieve their financial targets in their respective markets and opportunities, contributing to their growth.

Kellogg has been on a successful journey of transformation to enhance performance and increase long-term shareowner value. These businesses all have significant standalone potential, and an enhanced focus will enable them to better direct their resources toward their distinct strategic priorities.

Kellogg’s CEO Steve Cahillane in a company statement

Of the three new companies, the snacking business will be the largest, generating over $11 billion in sales last year and is considered a higher-growth entity than the previous Kellogg Company. Pop-Tarts, Nutri-Grain, Pringles, and Cheez-It account for about 60% of its sales.

At the beginning of 2023, Kellogg’s announced the new names for its spinoff companies, which maintain the legacy of the original name. The division that includes international cereal brands like Cheez-It, Pringles and plant-based foods will be known as “Kellanova.” Kellogg’s explained that the “Kell” part of the name overtly recognises its association with the former company, while “anova” combines the letter ‘a’ with the Latin word for new, “nova.” The new logo features the recognisable “K” and a sassy, forward-pointing ‘v,’ symbolising the company’s forward momentum as it embarks on a new chapter, according to Steve Cahillane, the company’s future CEO. 

On the other hand, the North American cereal business, which includes popular brands like Frosted Flakes and Froot Loops, will be called “WK Kellogg Co.” in honour of the company’s founder, William Keith Kellogg. However, the periods in “WK” have been omitted to signal the start of a new, unwritten chapter, according to Gary Pilnick, the company’s new CEO. The new logo design is based on Kellogg’s signature and emphasises the “Co.” to highlight the ambition of a 117-year-old start-up taking Mr. Kellogg’s original company to new heights, Pilnick explained.

Kellogg’s noted that employees helped select the names for the spinoff companies, and almost 1,000 people submitted over 4,000 options. About 20% of the suggestions included a variation of “W.K. Kellogg (K),” while others proposed interpretations of the word “nova.”

To prevent potential confusion among consumers, Kellogg’s has made the smart decision to retain the recognisable “K” logo on the packaging for its spinoff companies. By doing so, consumers can still easily identify the products and avoid any misunderstandings that may arise from the newly created company names.

Rebranding and coming up with new names for a spinoff can be challenging, as many good names are already taken and protected by law. It requires substantial investments of time and resources, and there is no guarantee of success. However, when done well, it can become a  powerful tool for companies looking to refresh their image and attract new customers, resulting in increased brand awareness, stronger customer loyalty, and improved financial performance.

According to a study by Brand Finance, rebranding can increase a company’s value by up to 20%.  Kellogg’s decision to split into three different companies and create new names and identities for each suggests that the company is focused on strengthening its brand and unlocking its full potential, positioning itself to better capitalise on market opportunities.

In addition to its large digital portfolio, Kellogg’s made sure to secure the exact brand match domain names for its daughter companies, and, ensuring that the newly created entities have a solid online presence and can easily be found by customers searching for their products or services. International brands maintain robust domain name portfolios to protect their brand identity, increase visibility, and prevent others from capitalising on their recognition. Securing variations of their brand names and country-specific domain extensions (like helps brands strengthen their online presence in specific markets and prevent consumer confusion. 

After the separation, both companies will be publicly traded. Kellanova will use the NYSE symbol “K,” while the ticker and exchange information for “WK Kellogg Co.” will be announced in the coming months.

In today’s competitive online market, choosing the right domain name is crucial for businesses. Contact us to protect your business from the consequences of a poor domain choice.

branding Kellanova Kellogg's naming rebrand The Kellogg Company