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Can a holding company have a brand strategy? I come from the ad agency world where holding companies such as IPG and Omnicom don’t really stand for anything specific. P&G is another large parent or holding company that has little brand meaning other than the physical nature of its size and scope. GE is a holding company, but also a manufacturer of branded products.
The answer to the questions about holding or parent companies and brand strategies is yes. They can and should have brand strategies. That doesn’t mean they have to advertise it, they just have to live it. Hain Celestial Group is holding company brand with consumer brands like Celestial Seasonings, Earth’s Best and BluePrint cold pressed juices, among others. All reside in the healthier-for-you category. I don’t quite know what the Hain Celestial brand strategy or organizing principle is but I can assure you the CEO does and he uses it to in decision-making, purchases and portfolio maneuvers.
The North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System is another parent brand that has benefited from a brand strategy, though it started out as a loose federation of hospitals. The whole, over time, with smart guidance, has become more powerful than the parts.
But the world’s most powerful packaged goods company, Proctor and Gamble, seems to break the mold. For the life of me I can’t figure out its brand strategy. Its objective was to own the number 1 or 2 grossing brand in its categories, but that’s not a strategy. Everybody has heard of P&G, yet no one can buy a P&G branded product. I’m befuddled, yet intrigued. I need to do more learning. Anyone have some ideas?
Tags: blueprint, does P$G have a brand strategy, earths best, hain celestial, holding company brand strategy, ipg, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, omnicom, P&G, Proctor and Gamble, whats the idea, whatstheidea
There’s a company here on Long Island named Hain Celestial. Most know it for its line of teas. Today it is a consumer packaged goods company with wonderful focus. The result of wonderful leadership. The company sells many products in the natural and organic spaces. Space that are outperforming traditional food and drink by a full 10%. Traditional (read not so good for you) food and beverages are growing 1%, while better for you are growing at 11%.
A spin-off of the craft economy is our attention to eating better. Eating at home more, so as to better control foods that go into our bodies. Less sodium. Less saturated fats. Less gov’t-subsidized high fructose corn syrup. Less genetically modified foods. It’s a movement, nee a spring. A healthy food spring. (But God, I do love bacon.)
Hain Celestial is winning and spending and focusing on what a growing portion of the population wants. Better for you foods. As Irwin Simon, CEO of Hain said recently “Eating healthy is not a fad.”
From a targeting point of view, those buying these products tend to be a little up market; able to afford the higher price point. And this doesn’t bode well for lower income communities. Nutrition will and should be a building block of the Affordable Care Act. And of education reform. And what grandmas pass down through the generations. Poor nutrition fuels the high cost of care in America.
Keep an eye on Hain Celestial products. This company will be the healthy P&G in a few years. Bank it. Peace.
Tags: Affordable care act, CEO of hains celestial, CPG, hain celestial, Hains celestial, health food, healthier for you foods, Irwin simon, Long Island CPG companies, marketing, organic food, P&G, whats the idea, whatstheidea
Ask me the title of the book I’m reading and you’ll mostly get “I nah know.” Ask me the name of the bespectacled, nerdy character from TV show Revolution. “Sorry.” But ask the most important thing told to me by the head of marketing at Kinney Drugs in 2008 while planning on a protein drink and not only will I recite the sentence, I’ll build a new store around it.
I once got a meeting with MT Carney, an original partner at Naked Comms, by telling her I have a good ear…that I hear things other don’t. Like the dog that hears abba dabba do abba dabba do Wannagofor a WALK?
This is no curse, it’s a blessing. It was born, not of an account planning manual from the UK, or a year of quant in the research dept. at P&G, it was born of the crucible that is advertising. Studying how it’s make, its results and consumer attitudes toward it. (Okay, throw in some amazing anthropology instruction at Rollins College and seeing Margaret Mead at the annual convention. )
The mind of a planner sorts, compartmentalizes, after seeing and hearing everything. It is always on. That’s why we smile a lot. We’re the sober dudes and dudettes smiling on the street when there’s no reason.
Lastly, we are not horders. We remember the important stuff – the big stuff – but we know what to keep. To act upon. To celebrate. Then we make the paper. For some sample paper in your category, please give a call. Peace.
Tags: anthropology, brand planner, kinney Drugs, Margaret mead, MT Carney, naked comms, naked communications, P&G, Rollins college, TV show revolution, “what does it take to be a brand planner”
I love making predictions. When I started disagreeing with Barry Judge, CMO of Best Buy, a few years ago about marketing and brand management, implicit in that disagreement was that Best Buy would have earnings troubles. You see, Mr. Judge jumped on the pop marketing band wagon proclaiming “companies don’t own brands, consumers do.” My response was this view was lazy and opened the door for disorganized brand management. Even a number of P&G digitists were agreeing with this fallacious notion.
Best Buy’s net income is down 30% this quarter, all due to price cutting. If your name is Best Buy and you ask customers what they want they’ll say “coupons and low prices.” If you don’t create another value for your customers they default to price. And when customers default to price you’re not marketing, you’re simply selling.
Mr. Judge and his army of Twelpforcers and sales assistants needed a plan. They were in the right neighborhood (providing assistance), but bounding about without a motivation. Had they a plan, had someone at the top managed the brand rather than turned it over to the masses, Best Buy would be killing it now as we slide step out of recession.
The good news for Mr. Judge is it’s not too late to fix this thing. He has more data, more inputs and more mindshare than he knows what to do with. If he organizes his house with some serious brand management chops, next year Best Buy won’t be covering up price tags to fend off the smartphone price scanner apps, they’ll be smiling with gold teeth. Peace.
Tags: barry judge, best buy, cmo, digitists, P&G, pop marketing, smartphone price scanners, twelpforce, whats the idea, whatstheidea
Here’s a marketing dashboard for you: A daily view of money coming in and a daily view of money going out. As they say on the Long Island Rail Road “Please watch the gap.” Cursor over the money coming in and it should be able to show drop downs of the various expenses by category. Cursor over the money going out, the same. If you can’t parse the ins and outs by day, look at the data by week or in three week rolling averages. That’s Da Monies.
Factors Influencing Revenue.
Money going in and out is a nice start but tying actual tactics and events to spikes and dips is what is exciting. Pumping GRPs of TV into the market should create revenue lift. Promotions the same. A big bad news story in St. Louis might create a dip. As might a poor earnings reports. Careful monitoring and modulation of marketing dollars, based on a game plan and strategy, introduces a higher level of accountability to marketing. But it’s not often happening. In healthcare, there are chief quality officers, who own the data. When physician mistakes are up or when hospital born infections trend high, the average patient discharge rate slows down. Where is this type oversight in marketing? With the CMO?
I’m sure P&G has some dashboard jockeys. One of them will be a millionaire soon if s/he figures out a marketing dashboard application that ties Da Monies to the marketing. With precision. Elegance. And with standardization. Coming to an iPhone near you. Peace!
Tags: cmo, Da monies, GRPs, healthcare, iphone, marketing dashboard, P&G, whats the idea, whatsthe idea
At the beginning of the video snippet (linked below) from Cannes, Bob Gilbreath of Bridge Worldwide identifies why his book “The Next Evolution of Marketing” better know as Marketing with Meaning is such a powerful resource. With the Internet changing marketing in yet unknown ways, Mr. Gilbreath and ex-P&G CMO Jim Stengel are not in search of answers, they are looking for the right questions. Think about it, everyone is searching for marketing answers — only the most innovative (pronounced as a Brit) are looking for the right questions.
Once the right question is identified, the answers are easier (not easy, easier). They are guided and directed. They are strategic, not tactical. In Mr. Gilbreath’s parlance they are meaningful. Start with the questions and then dig deep. “How do we make more money?” may be the first question, but it’s, perhaps, better asked “Why aren’t we making more money?” Then daisy chain it from there to get to Bob’s so-called burning question. Check out the interview here.
Tags: Bob Gilbreath, Bridge Worldwide, burning question, cannes cmo, jim Stengel, Marketing With Meaning, P&G, whats the idea, whatstheidea
In Charlene Li’s new book Open Leadership (which I have not yet read, but will), one of the premises is that leaders who really listen to customers are the most informed and prepared to deal with business issues. Because of social media’s prevalence and importance, this notion suggests that leaders who use the new listening channel (the web) are better leaders. Good advice, for sure. Those who know the name Andy Grove may remember that the first thing he did every morning upon hitting the office was to listen in on random customer service calls to his 800 number. It was old school technology, but it was listening. That’s why Intel succeeded.
General Motors (GM) brand managers and its ad agency strategists at Goodby Silverstein and Partners have decided to stop using the word Chevy in favor of the full, formal name Chevrolet. This is a strong brand management move. I yike it, as my daughter used to say. I don’t know the Chevrolet strategy, but can imagine this nomenclature move is intended to imbue the brand with a little more up-market sensibility. As GM nameplates are jettisoned, Chevrolet will be attempting to win over consumers who once bought pricier Oldsmobiles, Hummers, Pontiacs and such. Consumers will still say Chevy, but the people managing the brand will polish it with a finer cloth. They are exercising control. They are leading.
Pop marketing pundits are telling us consumers own the brand. Even the youthfully exuberant at P&G and others wielding great budget power are saying so. But if we cede control of marketing, strategy and leadership to the masses, we are being lazy. Listen yes…but lead. Peace!
Tags: andy grove, brand management, charlene li, Chevrolet, chevy, general motors, goodby silverstein partners, Hummer, Intel, oldsmobile, open leadership, P&G, Pontiac, whats the idea, whatshteidea