The Rising Need for Brands to Change and Expand Competitive Sets

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Today’s post is an article written by Brandhook, good friends of ours and the sharpest brand research and insights agency around.

At BrandHook we talk about the 7 ways consumer behaviour has changed but after attending last week’s Mumbrella Retail & Marketing Summit it was very clear that brands and retailers are also faced with the challenge of changing and expanding competitive sets. Claire Muscutt, head of customer experience design at Sainsbury’s, said the rise of discounters has seen customers trade down in search of cheaper prices, meaning Sainsbury’s has had to look outside their traditional “big four” grocery store competitive set. Similarly, Australian brands like Sportsgirl and JeansWest spoke about the ‘threat’ of international entrants that have arrived in Australia, while a panel discussion focused on the arrival and impact of Amazon and Alibaba into the local market. So how are brands adapting to these changes to the competitive landscape?

First and foremost is an in-depth understanding of your customers. Jee Moon, vice president of marketing at Luxottica, spoke about the importance of understanding and defining customers as individual people and not just in terms of their demographics and behaviour but also their lives and attitudes beyond the category. Anna Steven, group strategic brand manager at Sussan and Sportsgirl, considers this deep understanding of customers and the market (gained through 70 years of operating in the local marketplace) as a key advantage and point of difference to the international entrants who are yet to develop this kind of local knowledge.

The second crucial piece to the puzzle is the brand itself. Belinda Waller, general manager of marketing at Jeanswest, highlighted the importance of telling the story behind the production of the clothing. Belinda spoke about the partnership between JeansWest and The Woolmark Company, which was established to increase their premium range, while also supporting the wool industry. The resulting campaign was shot at Benangaroo Station, owned and operated by Michael, a fourth generation wool grower, while his daughter, international model Stephanie Joy Field, was cast as the face of the campaign (WATCH HERE). Most recently, JeansWest has launched an African capsule range – an ethical collection made in Ghana by local artisans using traditional materials and hand crafts. John Broome, Unilever’s CMO, also spoke about the need to align the brand with consumer values as a necessity for brands competing effectively in the modern market. He shared the example of Dove’s recent campaign “What is your daughter searching for”, which aimed to highlight the issue of low self-esteem within our society. This campaign was launched to support the The Dove Self-Esteem Programme, which goes into schools to help kids find greater self-esteem and realise their full potential.

While these brands have responded in different ways in order to stay ahead and maintain a competitive advantage, what was common among all the speakers was the importance of crystalising what the brand stands for and creating an engaging narrative that is relevant to your customers!

Written by Selma.

With offices in Melbourne and London, Brandhook believe that in today’s multichannel world, brands and their customers are so intimately fused that the only way to grow is to understand what truly makes those consumers tick. Their passion is to find that insight anchored in commercial reality that will drive brand success. Find-out more about Brandhook here:
Pi courtesy Brandhook.




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