On the quest for simplicity
As we witness a decline in consumers’ trust in brands and a need for simplification as shoppers become more and more overwhelmed by choices in aisle, plenty of brands have switched their strategy to a ‘One Brand’ approach in recent years.
In an FMCG industry driven by innovation and newness, companies continue to look to new products and sub-brands for growth. Every small consumer trend or fad leads to a product in a variety of categories. Each introduction increases the challenges around product positioning, portfolio optimisation, channel strategies and marketing planning. A masterbrand’s existing equity would help to overcome these barriers by conveying an emotional connection combined with credibility, familiarity and quality perceptions; especially for iconic brands such as the following 3:
Coca-Cola: Their research has shown that not everyone understands the options available and benefits of each drink under the Coca-Cola portfolio; which is why Coca-Cola Great Britain have introduced a new “one brand” strategy.
Hersheys: understood the need to simplify their offering in the minds of consumers and to connect with them on an emotional level rather than fragmenting the brand’s equity across the portfolio. Moving forward, Hershey’s will be synonymous with happiness through the “Hello Happy. Hello Hershey’s” campaign in the US.
McCain: The McCain masterbrand approach aimed to simplify the McCain products range and position it as the stand-out brand for all potato meal solutions, no matter the occasion. This approach is reflected in their ‘We are Family’ British campaign (link) featuring their frozen and chilled line-ups.
As the media landscape becomes even more fragmented, brands will increasingly find it difficult to identify and own unique positioning platforms for each of their sub-brands; it adds complexity to marketing plans and may drive lower efficiencies. A ‘One Brand’ approach will allow them to:
- Unify the brand under one personality and one single message that resonates with consumers/shoppers.
By developing customer bonds with the masterbrand, companies can offset the loss of consumers when their product’s appeal is based on a discrete period, for example, a certain life stage.
- Drive efficiency in terms of channel strategies and higher return on investment.
Promoting a single brand with a single campaign makes for more efficient media spend, and in today’s fragmented media landscape, the ROI will be stronger.
- Give the masterbrand stronger competitive positioning.
Between the new start-up craze, consumers’ changing tastes and the rise of own-label ranges, it is has become easier for small businesses or retailers to build attractive brands and compete against the big players. However, a masterbrand with strong equity and combined resources will make it harder for these new entrants to overtake any category.
So what does this all mean for shopper marketing?
The ‘One Brand’ approach is executed more easily in shopper when the brand’s portfolio of products sits within the same category/aisle (e.g. frozen), however, when considering a masterbrand that spans multiple diverse categories e.g. Nestle, companies must ensure that any masterbrand message transcends all categories and is adding value for the various targets.
Like everything else in marketing and advertising today (traditional vs. digital, mass vs. personalisation), it is about finding the right balance and right level of integration between both approaches. In the case of McCain where their new range sits in the chilled category, a bit more effort is required from shopper marketing to educate consumers and prompt shoppers on auto-pilot to go down the chilled aisle looking for McCain for those food for tonight occasions.
As we move towards more and more simplification, keep an eye out for more FMCG brands that will follow suit. We are intrigued to see how they approach shopper under one umbrella brand.