The real brand issue for distributors - Strategic Brand Management

As has been shown above, the distributor’brand is not a brand like the others. It is subject to three conditions: it must express the values of the store, position itself in relation to the big brands, and finally deliver a‘plu’s compared with low-cost products.

It is therefore more like a quality label attached toga price. To increase its financial results, it is certainly possible to increase its share of the shelf and have the goods appear in great numbers, which can give the impression of Soviet store. It is better, however, to increase the client’s preference for it. How?

Percentage of consumers who intend to buy the distributor’s product

Percentage of consumers who intend to buy the distributor’s product

Table below indicates how a better purchasing and promotion policy can contribute to this. bove all, however, it is necessary to sell it through greater brand strength. Since the distributor’s brand carries the store name, value must therefore be created through the store itself, its positioning and its identity.

Too many stores are devoid of meaning: they are businesses and nothing more. The hypermarket, like a cathedral, must decide which god it serves: the generic god of the consumer society, or an intimate desire on the part of the distributor to modify its relationship wit hits clients? For example, Careful venerates rationalism: its entire crusade is aimed at the enlightenment of the audience.

Remember that a big brand is built through the intangible: it is embodied in the tangible, and forms the basis of a durable relationship, a community of values among its clients. The first task that the store should set itself during this work is to identify its project, its vision:

what in its customer’s lives does it want to change? Although it will be necessary to compete on price, on choice and on service, it will also require an internal energy: this is found through the vision and the battle that the store takes as its own. What is the battle for most stores? When an organization doe snot have critical mass, it is necessary to compensate through goodwill, and therefore through the power of the brand.

Once this has been defined, it must be implemented through 360 degrees, and not only through the distributor’s brand products. For example, what service innovations will embody it in stores, and also beyond? It is these that will spark off word of mouth, turn customers into ambassadors and carry the brand’s point of view.

In comparison to the weight and inertia of the multinationals, which can only innovate once they have confirmed that the innovation will be profitable because it can be implemented worldwide, distributors must innovate more reactively. Of course technological innovation is beyond them. But customers do not expect it of them: on the contrary, it is their job to render customer’s lives more pleasant, even more live able.

This is achieved through recognizing that the customer segments are fragmented and that it is therefore necessary to adapt the distribution brand to this variety. Second, the distributors must be ahead of the curve on trends: it is up to them to lead in terms of ecology, organic produce, fair trade and so on. These are all profound movements that destabilize the status quo. The risk is much less for distributors:the distributor’s brand should be segmented to fill these niches. This is how ac lose affective relationship is forged: client by client.

The brand-store must go further, into personal service. Remember the remarkable phrase of Howard Schultz, the founder obstructs. Asked about the success obstructs, which will soon have more outlets worldwide than McDonald’s, he replied: ‘We are not in the business of coffee serving people, but of people serving coffee. ’Star bucks does not sell coffee to people – it is at their service, and serves them coffee, of good quality, in recyclable cups, using fair-trade coffee beans, in a peaceful, calm environment and with genuinely happy staff.

It is easy to understand why Star bucks had no need to advertise: its customers took care of that. It is time to stop talking about ‘distributor’s ;the ambition now should be to place‘life center’s at the customer’s disposal, facilitating and stimulating places where they can also do their shopping.

‘The tail does not wag the dog’, as the proverb goes (it is the other way around). Ethereal issue is to turn the store itself into ab rand. Among distributors, the brand manager is no longer there to manage DOB's, but to ensure the coherence of all the brand project’s activities. This presupposes that there is a brand project, with a vision, admission, strong values that are felt internally, and implementation well beyond the store itself and the private label products.

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