Monday, 6 July 2009

Brands that target niches- should this be news at all?

The Financial Times (click on title) had this article on Mars (maker of M&M, Twix chocolates) is targeting women with a new brand of chocolates called "Fling" -(

The news item first had me cynical. Why is this?
A friend of mine tells an old tale to describe how his company (multinational in the foods/ home and personal care business) keeps going in circles. First cuts all local brands to focus on "key brands and innovations", then goes back to investing in local brands to "revive sales and market share on a country basis"....and goes through this loop every 5-7 years.

The tale is about an old woman with 4 sons. Someone asks her how the sons keep busy to which, after much coaxing she says..."do you see the carpet hanging there. Well, two of my sons unravel it every few days...and the two others then stitch it back."

To why is the creation of segments "which the FT very stylishly refers to as 'niches' ", news?

Creation of segments based on distinct and profitable needs is the basis of marketing.

What is annoying is how marketers seem to develop needs through brands that make a connect with consumers, and then in the interest of "shareholder value" and cost-cutting, kill brands overnight, transferring the brand's properties to a larger "mega brand".

This weakens brand management and over time erodes the "mega brand" as well.


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