Ben Wise on Branding

Watching the world through the lens of the brand

Leading Brands Must Lead

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Earlier this week I posted about the power of underdog brands. Conversely there is great power in being the leader as well. Big brands that are managed well have been able to dominate their markets for years. Think of Coors Light, Tide, Google – all big brands that are dominant in their industry and who continue to set the trend.

Unfortunately, in the face of a strong underdog, leading brands can sometimes forget that they are in fact the leader and start taking their cues from the follower.

A great example of this in Canada is with Loblaws and Walmart. In Canada, Loblaws has a much bigger market share, yet it seems that the market is increasingly being led by Walmart. The way that Loblaws merchandises, their range of products, the introduction of the ‘Joe Fresh’ clothing line in response to Walmart’s ‘George’, are a few examples.

Leading brands must remember what made them the leader in the first place. What are the key benefits that helped you get to your current position and are those benefits still relevant in today’s marketplace? If they aren’t, how can you adapt to better meet the needs of your consumers?

This is where leading brands run into trouble. The logic is as follows: if Walmart is growing they must be doing something right so Loblaws should do those things too. This logic will quickly turn you into the permanent follower without anything unique to offer.

Leading brands must make sure they are continuing to innovate in ways that are meaningful to consumers, regardless of what others are doing.

What do you think? Are other leading brands following their smaller competitors?


Written by benwisebranding

April 22, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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