In today’s hyper-competitive conditions, where change is the only constant, the ‘grow or die’ mandate has never been more apt.  Particularly for organisations battling it out for share of consumers’ hearts, minds and wallets.

But complex markets, filled with complex consumers faced with more choice than ever before, can make achieving sustainable, profitable business growth seem, well, complex.  

Finding real growth doesn’t have to be complicated though. In fact, the growth journey can be pretty simple, if approached in the right way…

Business growth needs to be brand-led. But brand-led growth is not possible unless it is steered by consumer demand. Finding growth starts with slicing through market chaos, to identify the consumer demand spaces that define any given landscape (like Microsoft and Sony recently did when they got to know their consumers better through segmenting their markets).  The next step is understanding how your brand portfolio measures up against both consumer demand and your competitive set.

After creating a clear map of your market you can pinpoint which of your brand’s strengths might allow for credible brand stretch to find relevance with new audiences or demand spaces.  La-Z- Boy did exactly that when it leveraged its brand equity as the ultimate in comfortable furniture to move into a more emotional positioning that also appeals to female audiences.

You can tweak your brand or portfolio strategy to counter weaknesses you never knew existed. You can uncover ‘white spaces’ where consumer demand is left lacking and identify innovation opportunities that are beautiful in their simplicity and more importantly, actually work.  Ryvita did this when they gave consumers an easy solution for eating their products in out-of-home lunch occasions. You can also learn how to be selective in your brand extensions, choosing only those opportunities where your brand has the natural right to play.  See Moleskine, which has achieved growth by stretching into bags, pens and pencils, all of which are linked to their core product and build on the original notebook brand properties.

But it all starts with demand.  Each market is made up of its own unique demand spaces.  The better your brand can deliver against these demand spaces, the more it will grow.

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Written by Leigh Harris, Project Director at Added Value South Africa.

Added Value’s proprietary approach, GrowthFinder, helps clients discover growth opportunities that are not only grounded in in-depth consumer insight, but also geared to providing long-term, profitable growth in line with overall business strategy.

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