What is Your Category Leadership Plan?

What is Your Category Leadership Plan?

What is Your Category Leadership Plan?

What has changed?

Retailers are seeking forward-looking, omni-channel insight and leadership from manufacturers to ensure they are anticipating trends and continually building category value. This means that the concept of category leadership has become democratized. No longer do you need to be ‘assigned’ category captaincy to be a valued go-to partner and ally. Being a valued partner does not rely on the size and scale of a manufacturer’s business alone.

Instead, brands of all sizes can influence omnichannel execution by leveraging a unique point of difference to drive value with consumers and unlock a win-win-win proposition (brand + retailer + shoppers). Even brands with 5% share can disrupt and earn the right to execute by leaning into their strengths and clearly articulating their joint value creation vision.

In this new democratized landscape, a new approach is required to ensure that category leadership is an integrated discipline within your total demand planning. Success depends on the manufacturer’s ability to bridge the disconnects between the current landscape and where the shopper is heading with a clearly articulated vision.

What is the new approach?
Winning commercial strategy links brand strategy to customer activation through the common language of consumer needs, starting with a proprietary view of the consumers’ definition of the ‘category’. Larger incumbents tend to define it defensively, while disruptive brands tend to view their markets through a forward-looking consumer-first lens. Having a clear, consumer-driven, and forward-looking category vision sets the organization on a course for advantage

Brands that execute category leadership successfully are not just transactional sellers attempting to negotiate terms that benefit themselves. Rather, they are allies who bring perspective on how brands and retailers can both invest and act to mutually move toward a better future state.

From Transactional to Ally
Where to Begin: 5 Value Levers

We have outlined 5 potential value levers that winning brands employ to build effective category leadership narratives with meaningful outcomes.

1. Unlock New Ways to Engage the Consumer

Brands emerge as allies when they authentically articulate who they win with, why they win, and how this translates to shared value with their retail partners. This could mean appealing to the next generation of consumers, to an under-developed or high value consumer demographic, or to owning a unique way to build consumer engagement and relationships.

The Honest Company appealed to digitally native, Next Generation moms who valued ingredients, style, convenience, and a connection to the brand’s values. Honest created intimacy with this valuable, growing segment of moms and built a portfolio that appealed to moms through their life-stages. They effectively communicated the value of their right to win with millennial moms to retailers, creating a proposition of joint value creation.

Result: CVS and Target gave Honest 8-foot shelf blocks, believing Honest could help them convert these important consumers in new, different ways, even as the brand also scaled on Amazon.

2. Reinvent Category Dimensions

Winning brands continually rethink the value dimensions of their category. Consumer-led innovation can create stronger connectivity with the end-users’ lives and create value for customers.

Even if your category is not as chic as Next-Gen baby care, it does not need to be boring!

Decades ago, the trash bag category focused on purely functional benefits (i.e., doesn’t break!). Glad identified significant consumer pain points, such as smell and sustainability, and expanded its line to include experiential products (scented) and sustainable products (biodegradable). This revolutionized the consumer’s view of the category and unlocked trade-up opportunities.

Result: Consumers latched onto the benefits; today, premium trash bags make up more than 70% of Glad sales. Glad maximized revenue capture and drove high-margin value for the retailers, who rewarded Glad with outsized shelf share.

3. Connect O20 (offline to online)

As more shopping migrates online, new insights around omni-shopper behaviors become increasingly vital to planning. Many shopper priorities (and difficulties) remain constant from offline to online in an omnichannel world: reaching prospective shoppers, driving conversion, and building baskets.

While winning conversion in-store has been a key imperative for years, Unilever identified cart abandonment as a key pain point for retailers and manufacturers in the Personal Care space online and devised a plan to address that unmet need.

Result: Leveraging ecommerce data, Unilever brought targeted strategies to help retailer partners smartly invest in digital media, drive larger baskets, and optimize the shopping experience for consumers.

4. Spark Shopping Excitement

Retailers look to brands to help drive traffic and engagement both online and offline. Brands that leverage their unique point of difference to create memorable, buzzworthy experiences can win outsized influence and achieve their executional priorities.

Sumo Citrus, a branded seasonal citrus varietal, has a limited window to drive volume and revenue capture for retailers.

Leveraging this scarcity mindset, they have invested behind the programs, displays, in-store support and training to create in-store theatre with dramatic, towering displays. Stores that meet certain executional criteria are eligible for their premium product for a longer season and Sumo delivers the buzzworthy displays.

Result: This alliance creates value for the consumer through a fun, shareable shopping experience; for Sumo, with a significant footprint and social media buzz; and for the retailer, through foot traffic and trade-up to a high-margin citrus product.

5. Champion Education

When a category has a high education threshold, retailers look to brands to help partner in communicating the category role and engaging the shopper.

Leverage credibility as a trusted expert and source of information to add value to consumers’ lives beyond high quality products. This can also bring value to the retailer beyond traditional demand generation to create further influence.

The Clorox Company leveraged their storied history of scientific expertise and leadership in the disinfection space to empower retailer partners to educate consumers around personal safety and hygiene during—and emerging out of—the global pandemic.

Result: Clorox was able to authentically aid their retailer partners with a growth vision that elevated value by providing information and education that inspired consumer confidence in their changing cleaning habits and choices. This unlocked value through retailer acceptance of omni-channel shopper programs and increased Clorox’s ability to influence the future planning of cleaning and disinfection categories around the globe.

Conclusion
Brands that effectively communicate their role in creating category and shopper value based on a forward-looking vision are positioned to win with retailers and, importantly, the next generation of consumers. Category leadership is up for grabs, and not just for the big players, but winning requires mapping a category vision to the entire demand plan to enable choiceful and synchronized decision making.

We welcome a discussion about what your brand’s category leadership could look like!

To discuss any of these ideas further, please contact us at info@seuratgroup.com.

Winning Omnichannel in the Next Normal

Winning Omnichannel in the Next Normal

Winning Omnichannel in the Next Normal

Does your organization have a strategy to gain share in an omnichannel environment turned upside-down by COVID-19?

A significant shift occurred in the consumer packaged goods industry over the past few years as leading organizations adopted an omnichannel approach to consumer demand generation and selling. These companies moved away from a siloed, ‘push’ approach to mass marketing and acknowledged the realities of a complex consumer / shopper journey along with the need to make brand connections in a more relevant, meaningful way. Those that made the shift realized significant growth as the majority of industry growth shifted to sources outside the traditional brick and mortar world.

COVID-19 heightened the importance of taking an omnichannel view as consumer points of influence and purchase rapidly shift. It also revealed the need to re-visit what we mean by the term omnichannel, given three new realities:

1. Omnichannel is bigger than we thought
2. Consumer / shopper journeys are dynamic and rapidly changing
3. Last year’s playbook no longer applies

Omnichannel is bigger than we thought

Do you know where your core consumer personas are making brand decisions and shopping? That question is increasingly difficult to answer, as the majority of CPG spending now falls outside of ‘traditional’ sources tracked by syndicated data.

Both brands and retailers now compete against a broader set of options that threaten to supplant their offerings with more compelling value propositions. A broader framing also makes it increasingly difficult to influence consumers as they move along the purchase journey.

Example: Functional Water

Brands and retailers must recognize that consumers do not think in terms of ‘channels.’ The imperative is to conduct regular, far-reaching assessments of where and how consumer personas are fulfilling their needs—or risk losing market share to unseen or untracked competitors.

Consumer/shopper journeys are dynamic and rapidly changing

Consumers are changing more quickly than ever. Gone are the days when brand owners and retailers could comfortably develop annual plans followed by a period focused on execution. The disruption and changes ushered in by COVID provide an important lesson on the need to adapt quickly.

While COVID is clearly disruptive, brands and retailers need to be vigilant and agile at all times. For example, the Pet category experienced tremendous change when Chewy.com and Amazon provided a much more compelling total value equation for pet parents that caught many brands and retailers flat-footed.

Brand owners and retailers need to efficiently focus resources on consumers that represent a disproportionate share of business. But rapidly changing consumer behaviors reinforce the need to also deploy forward-looking insights to identify future sources of growth or disruption, and proactively nurture these spaces before competition arises. This requires brands to develop rapid “test and learn” capabilities to create conviction and action new learning. Otherwise, business owners find themselves chasing new sources of demand and struggling to close a widening gap.

Last year’s playbook no longer applies

In this fluid landscape, it is increasingly challenging for brands and retailers to stay visible and trigger connections at the right time. In the Next Normal, brands can no longer be passive influencers of the experience at the shelf or rely on basic ecommerce search.

Example: Impulse triggers have shifted

The need to connect with consumers at the right time, in the right way, with the right message is even more important given that only 8% of today’s consumers consider themselves brand loyalists, and are highly willing to switch brands or retailers when they see a better offer.

It is critical to understand the relationship between your brand offer and your consumer’s lifestyle. Leading brand owners and retailers are using forward-looking journey insights to map where and how to best sway consumers through brand messages and value added experiences.

How to drive change

Brand owners and retailers need to take action now to ensure they are equipped to win in the Next Normal and beyond. As we’ve seen, the only constant is change: the CPG industry has changed as much over the past three months as in the prior ten years. Four key steps are recommended to configure for an omnichannel Next Normal. Each step is illustrated based on a case example from a leading personal care company that successfully unlocked new pathways to omnichannel growth.

Seurat Group is an insights-driven consumer packaged goods consulting and private equity firm whose mission is to delight consumers. We create for our clients the clarity to act & invest in a better future.

Reach out at info@seuratgroup.com for additional thoughts on building a consumer/shopper insight foundation and omnichannel growth strategy for the Next Normal and beyond.

Moving from Respond to Reimagine: Leading Customer Engagement in the Next Normal

Moving from Respond to Reimagine: Leading Customer Engagement in the Next Normal

Moving from Respond to Reimagine: Leading Customer Engagement in the Next Normal

Radical Change in Retail

 

 

The pace of change among incumbent retailers in the consumer goods industry has historically been painfully slow. Despite many aisle reinvention projects, ‘stores of the future,’ in-store theatre, and shopper marketing programs, executional change has been measured in small increments: one additional facing, one incremental display, one shelf added to a category, or one more household adopting click and collect.

COVID-19 has clearly changed this dynamic. Retailers had to quickly respond to shopper behavior disruption and manufacturer supply realities with significant changes in-store, online and in fulfillment. Whole departments, such as Deli, were upended to address health and safety concerns with prepared foods, while store layouts were shifted to manage shopper flow and distancing requirements. Space and inventory holding power were quickly re-wired to meet radical shifts in demand overall and for specific products (e.g., paper and cleaning products), as well as ramp up for different fulfilment models such as click and collect.

Many manufacturers and retailers benefitted from these rapid changes, particularly shifts in consumption back to the home, consolidation of shopping trips, and re-prioritization of consumer needs that spiked demand for safe, convenient, and high-value brands and products.

We are quickly moving past the respond phase and do not believe the recent past provides a complete picture of the future.

The COVID-19 accelerant is now ushering in an unprecedented reimagine phase across the retail landscape, bringing changes within the next six to twelve months that historically would take five to ten years to develop. This presents both massive opportunity and risk for manufacturers. Shifts in consumption and shopping behaviors will drive continued change at retail and elevate the importance of influencing shopping behavior across an evolving, complex purchase journey.

More than ever, manufacturers need to be proactive to create customer planning engagement or risk having outcomes determined for them. Winners will influence customer planning conversations by using new insights to reimagine the category vision, growth drivers and brand roles. Our ongoing dialogue with consumers, shoppers, and retailers reveals four key areas of focus to reimagine the growth vision for each category:

 

Implication: In the face of renewed foodservice consumption, trading partners must identify ways to bolster the retail/at-home offer. Each category and brand must continually evolve their offer and value equation to maintain share-of-stomach gains from the respond stage.

For example, Deli is critical to meet demand for fresh, convenient, and great-tasting foods, but must shift from open, self-serve bars to a safer packaged assortment to compete with away-from-home options.

 

Implication: Re-orient category growth drivers and brand roles to address evolving consumer and shopper needs. Manufacturers need deep insight into why consumers are changing behaviors to identify what will ‘stick’ during the reimagine phase and how to deliver value to different tiers within a category.

Brands that played premium roles will need to demonstrate how they address a broader demand landscape and meet the needs of consumers making changes due to financial impacts of COVID shutdowns.

 

Implication: As shoppers make more planned trips, brands must be top-of-mind, prioritizing physical availability and visibility both in-store and online. Manufacturers need to build omni-channel shelving guidelines and partner with retailers to influence category strategy at shelf (share of space, brand blocks, shelf position) and online to both influence and deliver on demand. This requires factoring in holding power and optimal mix to meet the needs of a range of fulfillment options and incorporating strategies to influence shoppers at the point of purchase.

For example, as online sales in the Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements category grew 15% vs. last year, manufacturers like Olly are helping retailers like Target use their .com business to compete for sales against a proliferation of direct-to-consumer players. In parallel, manufacturers are leveraging their growth online to ensure right availability, holding power, and brand blocks in-store to support other fulfillment models.

 

Implication: Provide a seamless omnichannel shopping experience for those who are interacting with retailers and brands across more touchpoints. Retailers need to provide operating models that delight and deliver on shopper demands before expanding service offerings. Manufacturers need to apply new insight through the various paths to purchase and identify implications for driving demand at the point of purchase to plan with retailers.

Follow the lead of manufacturers who are already providing visibility to total omni behavior to develop optimal online programs and physical retail recommendations that reflect online needs and in-store fulfillment.

Reimagining the Next Normal of Customer Planning

Winning manufacturers have a vision for creating category value grounded in a new insight foundation, using a forward-looking lens to understand where shopper behavior and decision criteria are headed.

Value comes from translating this insight into a category vision program that reimagines solutions for the four aspects outlined above and is communicated through a persuasive selling narrative that can be adapted to key customers and channels.

Seurat recommends the framework below to create the vision, narrative, and program to increase customer engagement during this pivotal window of shopper and retailer change.

 

 

 

Reach out to the Seurat Group at info@seuratgroup.com for additional thoughts on building an insight foundation and category vision to capture long-term growth through the reimagine phase and beyond.

Future of Omni-Channel Planning

Future of Omni-Channel Planning

Future of Omni-Channel Planning

Future of Omni-Channel Planning

The End of Channel Management

Grouping similar retail customers into “channels” to organize go-to market efforts has been a hallmark of the CPG industry. This organizing construct exists because it has enabled more scalable, efficient and effective routes to reach consumer markets. The channel model was built on the premise that shoppers exhibited similar trip behavior within a retail format, thereby enabling manufacturers to use that medium to capture shopper value. This gave rise to organizations with teams and planning cycles structured around Grocery, Mass, Club, Drug, Dollar and more recently, Ecommerce.

While shoppers still think about outlets to fulfill trips, the availability of offers has blurred and people are shopping across more outlets than ever. Evidence that shoppers think less in terms of outlet is present everywhere you turn. Take, for example, Google Express, an online

platform that aggregates products available to be delivered based on your location. A search for “pea crisps” in our neighborhood returned above-the-fold results from Target, Walmart, Costco, Boxed.com, Fairway and Whole Foods Market – each featuring a product image, price, rating and convenient “Add to Cart” button. With 98% of US adults with internet access going online at least daily, and three-quarters using a smartphone, opportunities abound for shoppers to pick up their device the instant a need arises and receive instant gratification, whether through a nearby store, an online merchant or a third-party delivery service. With the rise of voice-activated search, social shopping solutions and text shopping enablement, this trend will only accelerate. The channel construct no longer reflects how shoppers fulfill CPG needs, creating an unsustainable tension between how shoppers behave and how companies go to market.

Traditional CPG go-to market model

Traditional CPG go-to market model elevates channel as an organizing construct

Media Transformation Highlights the Path Forward

Consider the transformation the media industry has seen in the last half century. Long gone are the days when brand managers could build a media plan by placing percentages of their budget across TV, print and radio mediums. Today, the integrated communications planning process (ICP) starts with a robust understanding and targeting of the end user, telescopes out to map the total consumer journey, and finally identifies where in the fragmented media landscape to invest to reach those end users.

In line with the media transformation, customer channel as an organizing construct must also transform for manufacturers to win with consumers in today’s environment. Rather than start the go-to market

process through established channel management and customer segmentation schemes, manufacturers must reorient their total demand planning to build relationships directly with shoppers who shop anywhere and anytime on their own terms.

Consider this in light of how most manufacturers go to market today. Despite their best efforts to implement omni-channel planning, most organizations are still woefully siloed, filtering staffing, budgeting, planning and marketing activation decisions through the lens of customer segmentation models that are misaligned with where consumers are fulfilling their CPG needs.

Being Consumer-First

What’s a company to do? In short, follow the consumer through the full consumer-shopper journey. This is not to say the future is all about direct to consumer. Rather, the imperative is be consumer first – then determine how to build and segment capabilities to reach target consumers, working effectively with customer partners (or DTC) across the demand landscape. Through our research and experience, we’ve identified three distinct behaviors to help organizations transform.

Map insights across the consumer journey.

The best products today are doomed to fail without a strong understanding of the end-to-end consumer journey and ability to insert the right messages at the ideal touchpoints. Consider a successful challenger brand that in addition to identifying a white space in a category, is able to use it’s understanding of the consumer’s journey and the “job to be done” at each inflection point (e.g., finding recipe inspiration, planning a social gathering, stocking the pantry) to build go-to market plans without struggling to force fit its planning into a legacy customer session. The most successful brands are ones that not only uncover powerful consumer insights but also map the end-to-end journey and invest at the right inflection points. This enables go-to-market decisions to be made through the lens of the consumer, rather than a default channel structure.

Omnichannel Consumer Journey: Illuminates triggers & barriers across the shopper journey, which is no longer linear

Integrate total demand planning.

Integrated Communications Planning and traditional “customer planning” must evolve from being compartmentalized and department-driven to a cohesive, coordinated, cross-functional capability. The goal is to apply a common view of the consumer journey that connects all relevant mediums and packages decisions about how to reach, educate and influence purchase into a truly integrated demand plan.

By being hyper-focused on demand moments and mediums in concert, manufacturers can develop more effective tactics. Proctor & Gamble recently launched a highly compact, concentrated Tide liquid detergent to meet the underserved needs of urban shoppers living in tight spaces. Priced the same as its ubiquitous 96-load jug, the so-called “Eco-Box” is about the size of a shoebox and weighs less than eight pounds. Most notably, the product is sold exclusively through online retailers like Amazon, Walmart.com and Target.com , where its carless city-dwelling shoppers are already turning to stock up on groceries and household goods. This type of innovation is more easily facilitated when go-to-market strategy is dictated not by an antiquated customer segmentation but by a rich understanding of the consumer and her journey.

Rethink your customer segmentation.

A large manufacturer recently conducted a study on where, how and why shoppers fulfill CPG needs online. What’s striking about the research is not what it uncovered about barriers to buying perishable items or openness to impulse purchases – valuable content in its own right – but rather the implications for the company’s customer segmentation.

As part of the study, the team looked at how shoppers engage with various fulfillment models (e.g., 2-day shipping, same-day delivery, buy online and pick up in-store). At first the team found a messy and fragmented landscape, with different groups of shoppers making different types of trips across a broad set of online and offline retailers. However, looking at shoppers based on how they fulfill unlocked a whole new way to think about customer as an organizing construct. Through the lens of fulfillment, the team conceived a new shopper segmentation that could be overlaid with customer segmentation. For example, the study found that high-value shoppers frequently used “click & collect” to bridge online and offline behavior. With that insight, the company could prioritize customers offering an omni-channel experience and rethink how it organized resources to service those customers.

The pathway to rethinking customer segmentation can lead to being able to prioritize differently. An example is RXBAR’s first sales call wasn’t to Whole Foods or the nearest health store but rather to the founder’s own CrossFit community – which became the company’s exclusive channel. Only after four years did they open the doors to mainstream channels, starting with Trader Joe’s, based on their understanding of the target consumer’s journey.

New go-to market model starts with the consumer journey for integrated demand planning with customers

Conclusion: Future of Omni-channel Planning

While upending the way companies have organized and created go-to-market strategies for decades can feel like a daunting task, fortune favors the bold. Tomorrow’s successful CPG firms will be those that are truly consumer first. As a starting point, here is what we recommend:

  1. Map a strong insight foundation across your consumer shopper journey
  2. Build an integrated approach to total demand planning that integrates consumer touchpoints with customer needs, strengths, and strategies
  3. Adapt customer segmentation to facilitate integrated communication planning and ultimately yield stronger, more cohesive business plans

To discuss how we can help you rethink your consumer journey, demand planning or customer segmentation, contact us at info@seuratgroup.com.

 

 

1 “The Rise of the Empowered Customer.” Forrester, 2017

2 “P&G introduces new concentrated Tide box for e-commerce only.” Cincinnati Enquirer. Nov 2018

Embracing Private Label To Drive Own Brand Growth

Embracing Private Label To Drive Own Brand Growth

Embracing Private Label To Drive Own Brand Growth

Embracing Private Label To Drive Own Brand Growth

Overview

As private label investment and share climbs, manufacturer brands will need to adapt new strategies for success and challenge the conventional approach of fighting against private label. Yesterday’s toolbox of managing price gaps and pursuing assortment and shelving optimization is no longer

the playbook for success. Manufacturers that are able to embrace private label’s role in the category, while clearly defining the incremental value that their brands bring to the category, will position themselves for true success in a growing private label world.

From Search

Private Label is an attainable, proven, profitable growth strategy across all retail channels. In an environment that is increasingly difficult to take price and grow share, retailers have chosen to aggressively pursue profit and sales growth through more sophisticated store brand strategies.

They are turning to private label to capture 25-30% higher margins, meet their consumers’ needs and provide unique offers that can create a compelling differentiation to drive traffic and loyalty.

Store Brands Have Momentum

Retailers have made significant strides in the effectiveness of their store brand portfolios, contemporizing the branding, innovating the assortment, and offering more services.

No longer is private label known as a generic or the ‘off brand.’ Today, retailers are fast to innovate and exploit new trends, in many cases leading innovation in categories.

Private Label is capturing share across channels, from Grocery and Natural channels to E-Commerce to Mass Merchandisers. Momentum continues to build.

The Case for Private Label Focus:

Retailers Face Declining Profits: 
In an environment that is difficult to take price, retailers must take margin.

Economy Remains Unfavorable:
Aproximately 1 in 7 people in the US received SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits1.

More Consumers are Open to Store Brand:
Millennials are more likely to purchase private label as they grew up with store brands being more than cheap alternatives.

Aging generations, triggered by a poor economy, have tested and enjoyed private label. They have lived through National Brand Equivalents and Generics and are now at a point in time that they cite the highest propensity to buy private label products.

Select Examples of Private Label Momentum:

Whole Foods:
Creating a new store format focused on value, and own brands to lower the cost of natural living

Meijer :
Meijer launching ‘True Goodness’ brand which offers products that are free from artificial flavors, colors and preservatives at an affordable price

Kroger:
Developed 3 new private labels to better meet a broader range of shopper needs: ‘p$$t’, ‘Heritage Farm’ and ‘Check This Out…’ – Simple Truth reached $1.2B in sales during 20142

Walmart:
Partnered with Ree Drummond – blogger, cookbook author and host of her own Food Network TV show – to create ‘The Pioneer Woman Collection,’ a line of modern country housewares exclusively sold at Walmart

Today’s Principles to Successfully Win Alongside Private Label

The following five principles represent the new ways to manage your branded business with the growing momentum of private brands in your categories.

They require Manufacturers to think differently to better partner with retailers through their private label, and to drive sustainable growth for the category and your brand.

Every retailer wants to know where the category is heading. Having a vision on where the category is going, the incremental value available, and the roadmap to get there, enables manufacturers to provide significant value beyond the category manager’s capability.

Communicating a clear understanding of the category dynamics and a vision for where it is going tomorrow is critical to lead planning and guide the role of private and leading Manufacturer brands.

Become the go-to partner for identifying whitespaces and innovation pipelines, educating shoppers, improving the in-store experience, and curating targeted messages that help your brands, private label, and the category grow.

While retailers are refining their ability to market to consumers outside of the store, the strength of national brands is their marketing capability. Bring demand beyond what a retailer can create.

Staying top of mind and relevant with today’s consumers is critical. Authentically reach out to your retail partners’ marketplace to develop a strong personal connection that continually motivates purchase.

Create Category Demand In-Store with Disruptive Merchandising beyond PL Capabilities:

In-store remains a critical battleground for your products. Although shoppers are rushing around on their usual route through the store, shopper’s are continually interrupted by new items, displays, sales, education at shelf, etc.

Seize the opportunity by grabbing the shoppers attention. Create demand for the category through various in-store levers beyond a retailer’s programs.

One in five shoppers say they impulsively buy categories that they had no intention of purchasing prior to entering the store, while 28% claimed to make their brand decision in-store.

Use Retailer Momentum to Optimize Brands as Part of the Category Strategy:

Be the Partner that helps retailers build private label share and capture more of the market. As private label reaches more shoppers, leverage its success to rationalize competitive brands, and focus on efficient assortment strategies (i.e. 2 or 3 brand strategies).

Working together, private label can capture ‘quality at a value,’ and the leading national player can provide incremental sales through ‘value added’ items.

Build a Price Value Benefit to Help Retailers Capture Lower Tier Shoppers:

How value is defined varies from shopper to shopper, and willingness to pay rapidly changes as new benefits are introduced to the market.

For manufacturers, it’s not about low cost, but meeting a need at a lower price point. While private label can stand for ‘quality at a value,’ national brands need to embrace the value tier by having a competitive offer that is appropriately supported – driving branded sales, but also helping retailers gain a bigger share of the growing value segment.

Conclusion

The above five principles require a holistic approach to the category, your consumer, and your customer. To play better alongside private label, national brands must have a view on where the category is going, provide incremental value both out of store and in store, and embrace the value tier to win share for themselves and the retailer. The retail landscape has changed, and to be successful national brands need to re-establish their position, including how to best fit with the retailer’s assortment and their consumers’ needs, while continuing to leverage their greatest asset – flexing their marketing muscles to generate demand for the category.