Focus on Impact
Campbell’s recently announced a number of initiatives to bolster its soup business, ultimately indicating that “the issue is more about what’s inside the can than the can itself.” Its Chicken Noodle soup will have more chicken meat, fresh noodles and no added preservatives. Its Cream of Mushroom has fresh cream and its Cream of Tomato has six tomatoes in every can.
For a $12.8 billion CPG giant, with roughly a quarter of its sales in soup, it has a lot at stake and any change, however infinitesimal, represents a huge undertaking with more downside in loss of plant efficiency, cost of goods variability, sourcing complexity, shelf velocity fluctuation, core consumer complaints, etc., than upside. So you can expect fairly minor changes over an extended timeframe to ensure changes have minimal negative effects.
For startups and growing businesses, this represents a huge opportunity to differentiate your product offering, packaging, flavors, etc., against the larger CPG players in the category. Sure, the leading brands command a huge addressable market. But that is also their Achilles heel. They need to maintain growth in satisfying a very large consumer base. And you don’t.
The challenge is to stay focused and continue to satisfy YOUR core consumers. While it sounds easy and generic, all too often, smaller companies focus on distribution and drop the ball on their core consumers, forcing them to pay top dollar for shelf space and leaving them empty-handed for TPRs (temporary price reductions) against deep-pocketed CPG companies that can decimate them in spending.
Take care of YOUR core consumers and it will pay back ten folds. Doing so will differentiate your brand. It will focus your product offering with only what works for your consumer base, not the large consumer population, allowing you to keep your product portfolio limited with high shelf velocities. It will also force you to spend where it matters most for your consumers, and not against the larger competitors.
Don’t know where to start? I can help. Contact me to explore how I can grow your brand the right way.