When all your traditional trade strategies no longer seem to work and despite the many fires demanding your attention in these unprecedented times, perhaps you should make time to step back for a really fundamental view of how your best brand can be optimised in today’s crazy market.
Because of your having lived with the brand for many years, this very familiarity may help you make more sense of a market that has undergone fundamental change in an economy that is unprecedented in terms of drivers and effect. To some extent you are also familiar with your consumer, and with traditional channels, and even competitors, all capable of contributing a degree of insight, despite the bewildering changes in market context.
In other words, if your brand were in pre-launch mode, awaiting sign-off in readiness for launch on an unsuspecting, apathetic but savvy consumer, what would you do differently?
This unique opportunity to revert to Square One, with the benefit of 2016 hindsight, allows you to re-define the original gap or opportunity for your brand to make a difference in a market that appears to be functioning quite adequately without it…
In other words, you are at a point where you have four options for development of the business:
- Selling more of the current brand to current users
- Selling new products/variants to current users
- Selling more of the current brand to new users
- Selling new products/variants to new users
Being a new product in an established portfolio, your only entry point will be via the sale of the brand to new users, gradually building up a franchise of satisfied users, a basis for eventually launching further new products.
Obviously, there will be constraints outside the business that could frustrate moves to fulfil your objective. With the benefit of your 2016 knowledge, you will anticipate 5-10 years of flat-line demand, and therefore cherish and nurture any faint sign of consumer acceptance, building in after-sale checks to identify and remedy any shortfalls in delivery vs. expectation.
Because you now live in a situation of tight money supply with consumers that demand demonstrable proof of value, buying whenever, however they like, shopping smaller, closer, faster and more conveniently, you have an opportunity to anticipate these changes and factor them into your consumer and trade strategies.
Unless your competitors are conducting the same exercise (!), you will be in a good position to objectively assess your brand from the savvy consumer’s perspective. As you know, this is easier using criteria such as Product performance, Price, Presentation and Place vs. available alternatives.
Again, with the benefit of your 2016 hindsight, you will know that the savvy consumer is suspicious of any excess in terms of product attributes – somehow adding to the cost – and is especially critical of any incredible claims. That same consumer you know will prowl the aisle assisted by hand-held access to ‘all knowledge’ so the price had better be good, if not the best available… Moreover, any expression of the offer, i.e. your product Presentation, had better be stripped down to demonstrable essentials, with any savings being caught in the shelf price.
Finally, having brought the consumer this far, your product had better be at a Place within arm’s reach or suffer the consequences, forever…
You also know that it is not sufficient to merely satisfy these ‘buying criteria’, but you need to be able to do so better than the competition…and this is just the consumer side of your journey.
You know you will eventually have to operate in a fundamentally re-structured trade environment with discounters driving private label and surrogate brand growth, independent convenience outlets and online access of Amazonian proportions driving the ‘major’ multiples remorselessly down the share-of-trade table, permanently…
You will realise that there is a life after multiple dominance, an insight that should help you to minimise those precedent-setting conditions as you switch from a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ to a legally enforceable and ideally fair-share contract…
This trip back to the future may help you make a little more sense of the current market conditions, and probably help you make minimal changes to how you market your best brand, but it will certainly help you appreciate and formulate robust strategies for lesser and especially new products in your portfolio in the real future…