Tag Archives: brand

Drinking Up some GROWTH

Drink Up another example how marketing behemoths (especially FMCG players), grow by monitoring closely who is growing, then candidly and honestly gauging whether it’s wiser to Build a copycat (Coke launching PowerAde to combat Pepsi’s Gatorade) or to Buy (Dr Pepper-Keurig buys CORE)  

https://csnews.com/keurig-dr-pepper-acquire-enhanced-beverage-company

For DrPepper, adding CORE beverages boosts strength in ‘USDA-certified’ organic water, and ‘nutrient-enhanced’ water– err sorry, ‘Hydration vehicles’. Scoff if you will, but fruity water, organic water & certified water is hot; and accounts for a growing share of occasions for beverage drinkers. This buyout adds incremental consumers, consumption occasions & channel credibility (particularly with health shops, organic grocers, restaurants & cafeterias offering ‘organic’ fare,  fitness/bodybuilding shops or gyms).

DrPepper already has a huge stable of ‘any occasion’ sports/ activity/ energy/ rehydrating beverage brands that would give a marketer a week’s worth of drawing classes on Positioning Maps (Snapple, Keurig, Motts, Venom, Bai,…and now CORE)

CORE’s channel credibility & Influencer cred may boost Influencer support for ‘the rest of DrPepper’s stable’; this is critical. Arch rival Coke has PowerAde, Dasani and (now) BodyArmor;  Pepsi has Mountain Dew, Lifewtr and Gatorade (imo presence in ‘high-cred’ Influencer-rich outlets keeps the Pepsi group ahead of Coke’s  line, in terms of having a reputation for being more viably ‘athlete-credible’ or ‘health-credible’ but the purchase of BodyArmor def help out Coke!).

The CORE acquisition certainly raises the efficiency of each DrPepper sales call, however imo something more exciting is that DrPepper gains credible beverage brands that might be expanded into solid foods- eg protein supplements, protein snack bars, meal replacements (these are huge, active markets -imo with exciting futures given Gen Y/ Gen Z tendency to eat & snack on the run &/or possibly as vehicles to pursue opportunities in medical/ serious nutrition counselling markets, or even with Seniors).

Steven

 

if organic growth fails… BUY!

Now that Sobey’s parent (Empire) has bought FarmBoy, it’s time to re-review some of the main reasons for acquisitions:

  1. Cheaper to buy than build- and removes one strong competitor too!
  2. Buys existing brand equity, store traffic pattern, loyalty
  3. Immediacy– sales generated the day you sign the check (now that’s fast incremental sales!!!)
  4. Less risk, Less work: signing a check for a proven successful business does indeed reduce the risk you might learn it’s not that easy to hire/redeploy a sufficiently skilled team, and then build it from scratch

Loblaws nicely integrated Shoppers locations and their Optimum team into its operations stable and T&T without losing some of those acquisition’s best assets or people. Canadian Tire is a master of wise acquisitions. The Empire-FarmBoys news is well covered here, though it’s too early to say whether it will be seen a wise buy in the long term:

http://www.canadiangrocer.com/top-stories/headlines/empire-deal-to-fuel-aggressive-farm-boy-expansion-83027

alas we must also mention some of the risks of acquisitions:

Overpaying for an asset: sometimes there are liabilities unaccounted for in the books (ask pet giant Mars about their purchase of destined-for-lawsuits Greenies!); sometimes the valuation seems mighty inflated (eg Chipotle?); sometimes there are bidding wars that push a price above rational levels when Executives are desperate to be seen to ‘win’ (just as any one has seen happen at a live auction:  Disney-Comcast-Sky, anyone?).

Messing up the execution: WalMart and Target both bought existing Canadian-based retail chains – and, after extensive location analysis & store remodeling, both launched. Only one of the two remains in business today: hint:  it’s NOT the one that messed up their launch execution.

Messing up the corporate culture analysis: Well executed efforts include TD buying Canada Trust and tapping into some of their best executives, brand icons, etc. And a certain (Cincinnati?) CPG firm although noted for ‘gutting’ the staff at virtually every acquisition target, then replacing them with their own staff, is actually pretty adept at doing this well.  But there are many examples of inept people management eg when merging vastly different cultures:

  • HP= Sales; Compaq = Engineering/Tech Expertise;
  • I suspect Amazon-WholeFoods cannot be a comfortable fit;
  • Scotiabank (Canada’s least tech savvy bank) buying tech innovator Tangerine???
  • 3G Capital bought Tim Hortons- soon after, Tims’ Oakville office staff were gutted, spending on community charities was cut, food/beverage staffing was ‘cost optimized’ – and now franchisee rebellion is in the air

Messing Up the Brand: no matter how hard P&G tries, it just can’t stop… being P&G! Safe, strategic, sound— but never edgy, irreverent or fun.  They bought Clairol’s Herbal Essence haircare (riding a share peak based on the success of irreverent positioning & saucy “Orgasmic” ad campaign) but evidently they just couldn’t un-P&G themselves; the next few years we TV viewers witnessed some of the most awkward, cringe-inducing, ham-fisted ads ever aired. Just about as sexy, saucy & irreverent as the iconic couple in Grant Wood’s American Gothic.

Doubling Down at the expense of other opportunities: this ‘Opportunity Cost’ drawback is imo the least visible flaw in making an acquisition, since it can take years (or decades!) to see the ‘true cost’ of a huge acquisition. When Kimberly-Clark bought Scott Paper in 1995, good or bad, it lifted their share in current categories but cost them the capital for any major further acquisitions or forays into new business for decades. Tissue & diapers aren’t hot ‘unit growth’ categories in Western economies; KC’s current CEO could legitimately blame their low-growth reality on the unimaginative –  but safe!- 1995 Exec team who depleted the WarChest for decades to come by doubling down on ‘current category share’. Same argument for HP- by now, they might have become an IBM or a Google or an Oracle- but the buyout of Compaq in 2001, inflated their short term share in PC’s/ Laptops, yet cost them the chance to be serious about paying attention and resources to new categories.

Steven

Knockoff vs Homage

When is a copycat product ‘inspired’ by your proprietary design and trademarks a threat ? When is it a…. partnership opportunity????

Usually the news that your brand is being copied signals the entry of another ‘low-life copycat ripoff’.

Adidas’ actions show there’s room for distinction between types of copycats. imo that makes sense; low-cost options undercut the consumer & constitute a BIG VOLUME threat that must be met with hard, fast litigation.

But an upscale ‘homage’ to your brand ? Not much of a volume threat certainly, and, in fact, kind of a respectful nod. Enjoy this soulful story.

SL

Why is Adidas partnering with a knockoff brand?