Before we plan where to go next, we need to understand “Where are we?” today. We recommend a deep-dive business review that looks at everything connected to the business. This review includes looking at the category, consumer, competitors, channels and the brand.
Understanding the situation
- Category: Start by looking at the overall category performance to gain a macro view of all significant issues. Dig in on the factors impacting category growth, including economic indicators, consumer behavior. Then look at technology changes, shopper trends, political regulations. And finally, look at what is happening in other related categories that could impact your category.
- Consumer: Define your consumer target, digging deep into the consumer’s underlying beliefs, buying habits, growth trends, consumer enemies and key insights. Use a consumer buying system analysis and leaky bucket analysis to uncover how they shop the category and your brand. Uncover consumer perceptions through tracking data or market research.
- Channels: Look at the performance of all potential distribution channels and every major customer in the category. Understand your channel customer’s strategies, as well as the available tools and programs your customers have. Your brand can align your brand with each customer and find a pathway to success within each channel.
- Competitors: Dissect your closest competitors by looking at their performance indicators, brand positioning, innovation pipeline, pricing strategies, distribution and the perceptions of the brand through the eyes of their consumers. Map out a strategic Brand Plan for all significant competitors. This can help predict what they might do next, and know how you might counter in your brand plan.
- Brand: Understand the reputation of your brand through the lens of consumers, customers, and employees. Use brand funnel data, market research, marketing program tracking results, pricing analysis, distribution gaps and financial analysis. Look at the internal health and wealth (inside the company). Then dig in on the external health and wealth of the brand (in the marketplace).
Brainstorm what’s going on.
For each of the five sections, we recommend that you brainstorm a list of drivers and inhibitors. Look at potential opportunity areas and risks to avoid. Base these on your knowledge, what you are hearing or seeing and your instincts. Keep a running list and even use your hypothesis with others on your team to see what they think.
Narrow the brainstorm list down to top 3-5 “opinions” that you should list as your “straw-dog conclusion statements.” You need these statements to know where to begin looking. Look for the right data. For each of the statements, list out the information you need that will either support, alter or refute the straw dog statement. Using the data you find, look for breaks in the data and begin piecing together 2-3 main support points and with your new knowledge, begin to re-write the conclusion statement. Continue to modify the story, both the conclusions and support points as you will keep tightening the story.
To conclude the deep-dive review, you need to summarize the factors driving the brand, the factors holding the brand back and then lay out the risks and untapped opportunities. Below, you will see a summary tool that lays out the top 3-4 points for each box.
What’s driving growth?
- Focus on the top factors of strength, positional power or market inertia that has a proven link to driving growth behind your brand. From there, your Brand Plan will be built on continuing to fuel these drivers.
What’s inhibiting growth?
- Focus on the top factors of weakness, unaddressed gaps or market friction that can be proven to be holding back the growth of your brand. Your Brand Plan should focus on reducing or reversing these inhibitors to your growth.
Opportunities for growth:
- Specific untapped areas in the market that would fuel future growth, based on unfulfilled consumer needs, new technologies on the horizon, regulation changes, new distribution channels or the removal of trade barriers. And your brand plan should take advantage of these opportunities in the future.
The risk to future growth:
- Changing circumstances including consumer needs, new technologies, competitive activity, distribution changes or potential barriers to trade creates a potential risk to your growth. Then, build your brand plan to minimize the impact of these risks.
The simplicity of the deep dive analysis is that it provides a starting point for the issues, as you will want to find ways to continue or enhance the drivers, to minimize or reverse the inhibitors, to avoid or manage the risks and to take advantage of the new opportunities.
To read more about How to Lead a Deep Dive Brand Analysis, here is the presentation from our training workshop that we run for Brand Leaders.
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