Brand Management Re-imagined

It’s pretty astonishing how few companies control most of the market for consumer packaged goods (CPG). As pointed out here, “A ginormous number of brands are controlled by just 10 multinationals.”

Considering the hundreds of brand websites, social media accounts, email lists, mobile applications and digital campaigns associated with these companies, you would expect them to possess immense insight about the interactions with their consumers. Based on the following statement from an October 2013 article, it doesn’t appear they do and are paying a dear price for it:

“According to a Janrain/Blue Research study from earlier this year, 98% of people receive information and offers from brands that are simply not relevant. And the impact is beginning to be felt, with consumers taking action on their annoyance. Nearly half of them report abandoning brands after just two mis-targeted communications. They stop using products, unsubscribe from email lists, and abandon Web sites. This is obviously a big problem — companies are potentially losing nearly half of their customers due to frequent mis-targeting. It’s a wake-up call to fix this problem or risk losing customers, prospects, and market share.”



As I described here recently, the outsourcing model employed almost universally by the industry tends to focus on limited or one-time marketing campaigns or promotions, at the expense of the data and potential insights these activities collectively create.

Mixed Up Marketing Mix

It’s an understandable — but difficult to resolve — situation. In simpler times, brand managers could relatively easily keep an eye on their consumers, markets and channels. Now, the world looks a lot different. New functions work alongside brand managers, helping execute a much more complex marketing mix: digital marketers, shopper marketers, customer marketers, social media specialists, e-commerce operations, analytics pros, and a confusing ecosystem of services companies.

Consumers don’t care about these complexities, but they do notice and appreciate the differences between a positive brand experience and a poor one. More than ever, this is a function of knowing consumers on a one-to-one basis, something that cannot be said for most brands lacking an integrated view of their marketing activities.

Old methods like focus groups and traditional market research are behind the times, unable to predict what consumers think any longer, given the hyper-connectedness that influences shopper decision making today.

Memorable Brand Experiences

Most brands are right now engaged in all sorts of digital marketing programs, each generating permissions for email communications and other attributes that can illuminate the needs and wants of individual consumers. Yet few have taken the added step of realizing the power of capturing this data and developing a cross-brand view of consumer engagement.

Brand marketers within the same CPG company are essentially competing among themselves for the attention of consumers — something not easily achieved considering the thousands of marketing impressions we are all exposed to every day by all kinds of businesses.

Today, consumers expect brands to be much more sophisticated in their communications. They tune out anything less. Here are some ways a cross-brand view of interactions helps individual brands better meet their consumers’ expectations:

Common Sense Communication: Without a cross brand view of planned activities, two or more brands within the same company will often execute programs on or around the same day, potentially at nearly the same time, possibly trying to achieve a similar objective.

Value Bundles: Retailers have long used analytics on their transactional data to identify cross sell and/or product bundling opportunities. CPGs can benefit similarly with a cross brand view of consumer insights.

Shared Learning: When brands work together to build out a shared, living record of consumers, the leverage is considerable for creating the most compelling messages, offers, and new products.

Pave the Path to Purchase: Retailers look to their suppliers for help to drive sales, margin and category growth. What better way to support retail partners than offering a collective of cross-brand consumer insights that plugs into loyalty programs or informs more relevant mobile offers enabled via Apple’s new iBeacon technology.

Achieving these benefits doesn’t take a wholesale change to the way brand marketers and their agencies operate. Instead, it offers them new tools to better meet the expectations of today’s consumers.

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