Five hundred million purchases and counting. According to the 2014 Brand Footprint, that’s what it takes to be recognized as one of the top 50 global consumer goods brands. It’s an impressive number, and a marvel of manufacturing and logistics.
Beyond sheer scale, however, what makes one brand better than another? Looking more closely at the brands that made the list, as well as the 20 brands that almost broke through the top 50, according to the report, a common thread emerges: the fastest-growing global brands (Oreo, Cheetos, Snickers, Downy, Yakult, Lifebuoy, Nestlé, and Dove) have been more agile in their product innovation and marketing and quicker and more effective at understanding and tapping into their consumers’ needs.
While all of the global brands delivered convenience and value, the best performers focused on making consumers’ lives happier or healthier and engaged with them in ways that were more personal and impactful. Ultimately, they blended wide market accessibility with bold campaigns that were talked about.
But even with massive reach, according to the report, the mega-brands have lots of room to improve. Two surprising findings surfaced: 1) that market penetration across the top 50 is only 20%; and 2) that local brands are winning market share against the top 50. It’s the localized brands, and their ability to leverage market proximity and intimacy, that now collectively represent 60% of shopper purchases.
So how do the top brands execute campaigns that deliver intimacy, while at the same time provide mass recall and recognition? It’s a battle between market focus (local) and reach (global). By focusing on four key disciplines the mega-brands should be able to expand:
1. Create highly tailored campaigns and specialized products that meet the demands of local consumers.
2. Expand their offerings through more attractive and affordable formats and leverage alternative distribution vehicles to capitalize on non-traditional buying behaviors.
3. Develop new markets, segments, and products by listening and responding faster to consumer trends.
4. Embrace digital channels to foster consumer participation around product and brand development.
With a balance between connection and convenience, and emotion and efficiency, the mega-brands should be able to deliver on consumer intimacy regardless of where their products come from or how they get to the buyer. And with greater connection and emotion the brands should become more local.
Despite size or reach, being local should always be our goal as marketers. Through authentic, transparent campaigns, executed across digital and traditional channels, and measured with an emphasis on consumer engagement and participation, we can create more loyal advocates that view our brands as part of their lives, instead of brands that encroach on their lives.