When I previewed Hansen Natural's (NASDAQ:HANS) latest earnings report, the takeaway went a little something like this: "Sell if you think energy drinks are another fad; buy if you think that 20 years of Red Bull history has established a caffeine-source alternative to Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX). Boom or bust, Hansen remains a legitimate leader in that market."

All of that is still true, but it turns out that the corporate leadership issues I'd mentioned earlier in the article made a bigger impact than the consumer trend. Hansen has been pushing hard to get its coffee-based Java Monster drink on store shelves, though management calls it a "lower-margin" product. You have to question the wisdom of chasing sales at the expense of margins, unless there's some serious brand-building going on. I don't think Java fits that well in Hansen's product portfolio, so the brand argument gets a bit lost.

And that's not all. Manufacturing problems, higher dairy prices, and distribution snafus on that new product line all contributed to a hefty revenue miss -- $11 million short of Wall Street's $258 million forecast, sending the stock down more than 20%.

CEO Rodney Sacks still thinks that "the expansion of [the energy drink] category into this coffee area is an extremely exciting number for us. We think that that will help expand the category." Hmm. You know what Hansen could do? Expand the board of directors by a couple of seats, and bring in some heavy-duty product-development or marketing experts with pedigrees from places like Kraft Foods (NYSE:KFT) or Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG).

Hansen's idea is to fortify the product-development cycle, testing new ideas in better, more accurate ways, and then making sure that the product moves smoothly from the test kitchen to shelves at Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Target (NYSE:TGT). Senior executives from any branch of the consumer-products sector would serve that goal well, because they have already seen the little traps that keep tripping Hansen up these days. By now, Hansen's strong product portfolio has earned the company the respect it takes to attract that kind of talent. Send out some invites, Rodney. The board meetings will be much more fun -- and rewarding.

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Fool contributor Anders Bylund is a Hansen shareholder and a frequent Target shopper, but holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and Foolish disclosure was born fully mature.