Building a Successful Brand Strategy by Understanding Product Claims
Consumers attitudes and behaviours are changing rapidly, much due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More consumers are now shopping online, and with much more frequency, than prior to the pandemic. And they are using online data to access product benefits and attributes to make their brand choice. For brands to succeed, now more than ever, organizations must understand key consumer needs and preferences. Claims or attributes have become an increasingly big part of brand choice. Leveraging a study conducted by Euromonitor International, we highlight how to use claims and attributes to create opportunities for your organization.
It is important for organizations, especially large traditional organizations, to be in “discovery mode” on emerging trends. Trends that could be discovered by analyzing small brands entering a category or a scan of international brands developing across different countries and reviewing their benefits and attributes.
Take the health and wellness space. Health claims like immunity, digestive health, mental acuity etc have become increasingly important. Driven somewhat by a reaction to COVID 19, but also due to an aging population. As well, dietary claims continue to trend well, keto, paleo, vegan, vegetarian and plant based which support overall health, weight loss and energy.
While its useful to look internationally for inspiration, it’s important to understand what benefits and claims will work in your market, as there can be differences market to market.
For example, a study done on meat substitutes showed the vegetarian claim had higher penetration in the U.K but, Vegan was the lead claim in the U.S.
Narrowing down the benefits and claims that resonate with your consumer will help drive the overall communication strategy but will also help in product design. The marketing function will be more clear on positioning and R&D/Operations will have a good brief to source ingredients and resources required to deliver on the benefits/attributes of the product.
Another method of determining emerging trends is to watch how attributes/claims travel to other categories. For example, Vegan claims are increasing being made in the health and beauty category, as are better for the planet and cruelty free. So using a “related worlds” approach, you can see trends evolving and moving across categories. This can help you determine the power and breadth of the claim and if it should be considered for your product or category.
Conducting a competitive analysis in the category you compete is also an effective tool to understand competitive claims, where your product is at par and what gaps could be a source of opportunity for your brand or portfolio. This analysis can provide strategic direction for communication, product reformulation and product design allowing your team to make informed decisions on resource allocation. It may also provide an opportunity for new revenue streams especially if there is a merger or acquisition potential. Competitive analysis allows marketing to optimize their product and portfolios so they can out perform their competitors.
Supporting Brand Initiatives
A company’s vision often moves brands in a particular direction. For example, Nestle is focused on “healthier choices” for consumers in the future, therefore Nestle’s brands (at least part of the portfolio) must reflect and demonstrate the goals of the future. Knowing the importance of these higher level corporate claims can help organizations make strategic decisions on “where to play”. Once the corporate choice is made, brands can align their positioning to meet the overall company vision and goals.
Recognize and Pivot to Seize Opportunities
Current changing economic conditions, social injustice and the pandemic (to name a few) have all had an impact on consumers attitudes and behaviours. It’s important to “get ahead” on these macro trends to capitalize on them quickly to secure growth. Organizations need to be monitoring the trends and pivoting to react to altering market conditions. This will not only help brands, portfolios stay current and relevant, but can help organizations pivot on their company purpose and vision. With COVID, immunity claims became more important than in the Pre- COVID era. Companies were interested in discovering which categories immunity could “travel to”.
Product claims can also be leveraged to understand new opportunities for innovation. Knowledge about the emergence of a new claim may help in determining a new consumer need or need that is not being addressed.
Consumers are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about product claims. It is important for organizations to keep abreast of new claims in the market to stay ahead of their competitors and capture new growth opportunities.
Source: Euromonitor International, Leveraging Product Claims to Build a Successful Brand Strategy, May 2022.