During a recent earnings call for a leading Consumer Products company, a financial analyst asked the CEO how his company has successfully competed against private label – particularly at a time when consumers are gravitating more and more towards lower-priced alternatives. Now, considering this company has realized significant organic growth over the past two years, in the midst of the economic downturn, I was particularly interested in his response. He mentioned that the greatest enabler of their success had been their ability to understand their consumer and stay true to their needs as they evolved throughout the downturn. He emphasized that as long as his organization is able to “deliver the consumer,” they will win. So, how do we follow this company’s success and realize growth against private label brands? How do we compete? How do we “deliver the consumer” to our retail partners, making us more valuable than any private label brand could ever be?
We develop systems and processes that allow us to better communicate with, understand and adapt to the consumer.
- To communicate with the consumer, consider what P&G has done with their Tremor division, building out a group of over 500,000 moms and kids to drive consumer advocacy.
- To understand the consumer, what analytical tools do you have in place? Do you have the capability to make sense of the various data inputs currently available to your organization – Point of Sale data, loyalty data, Retail Link data, etc.?
- To adapt to the consumer, is your marketing organization tracking commentary on social media sites, and incorporating these opinions into your innovation pipeline? Is your R&D organization aligned with your Customer Service organization to insure that consumer feedback is driving product development?
I truly believe that these steps are critical to insure the continued growth of our brands, as retailers will continue to offer greater opportunities, and shelf space, to manufacturing partners that could drive store traffic, hence “delivering the consumer.”