Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ground Branding in retail foodservice is about retaking marketshare.

Ground Branding is not back to the basic’s it’s a step into the future of marketing, positioning and essential for legacy brands continued consumer relevance. Ground Branding means repositioning a product, or a company focusing on the core foundation of the legacy product or companies value with a dramatic shift in contemporized customer relevance.

Grocery stores, Restaurants and Convenience stores are all scurrying to reposition their menu mix of better for you prepared food to garner an increase in share of stomach. Competitive may not be a strong enough word for the battle between sectors and companies for the consumer. The Grocerant niche is where all the action is consisting of better for you prepared portable ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food.

McDonalds, Wegmans, Starbucks, Sheetz, Boston Market and Wawa have done great things in the foodservice area but the equilibrium between financial success and breakthrough top of mind recognition might be amiss. In Seth Godin's new book Purple Cow where the entrepreneur wants to recapture some of the magic that the brand at one time had. Godin suggests that the key to success is finding a way to stand out and be remarkable, like a purple cow in a field of regular cows.

In January McDonalds will exhibit ground branding focused on it brands core and consumer relevant issues. This is going to turn the industries eyes at their Purple Cow the $1.00 breakfast and free internet service. This is going to be industry leading; capture additional marketshare and most important share of stomach.

Equally as bold is Domino's change to its core product its pizza and crust! This is the best example of ground branding, bigger than bold, this is a huge event, try it out yourself on December 28th you will see. This will work and change how legacy companies operate in the future. The new crust will be a garlic-seasoned recipe with parsley, and the sauce will be sweeter and bolder with a medley of herbs and a red-pepper kick." The cheese is made with 100% mozzarella, flavored with just a hint of provolone”. Not only are these moves bold, they are targeted directly at the consumer, grounded in consumer relevance. Congratulations Domino’s; marketer’s around the world will be watching in envy, wondering why they have been held back.

Both of these are examples of ground branding and solid Purple Cows. Will Domino's be another Coke? I do not think so. Domino’s has done a better job understanding their consumer and the niche that they operate in than Coke did. Domino’s is in a much different place; a key fact is they do not operate in a duopoly. Thus this I predict this will be a game changer and more importantly a marketshare gainer within the Pizza sector.

Safeway’s “lifestyle” are another example for ground branding a turn away form the middle of the store and focus on consumer relevant fresh, prepared food. These “lifestyle” units have proven a focus on the grocerant niche prepared food sector provides a halo for even the burdened center of the store. This is about winning the heart and minds of the consumer.

The challenged for each company is the ability to see and understand the customers focus at it’s core, not your brands core. Success does leave clues and companies leading the charge in 2010 will be leaders within there niche for years to come. Those that do not will be reading headlines that C-level change is coming or came. Without bold new leaders those brands may simply become non relevant. In the event that they are more about their brand than the consumer they will simply fall to the way side.

Does your team have the ability to ask outliner questions of researchers in order to identify outliner results for your product or brand? Have you identified a new avenue of distribution or a new product that can be your Purple Cow? Many companies are in turmoil due to the economic quagmire, very few companies will do something bold, new and fresh if they do they will garner marketshare for years to come. I 'can't run fast, leap tall buildings but I sure can think outside the box with a consumer focus. Do you need an outsiders eye’s with inside knowledge, capable of assisting you to break out of the quagmire and into a new leadership role within your niche. Now is when the next generations of industry leaders are being formed. We all know the status quo is not. Success does leave clues and looking forward is just one of them.

Foodservice Solutions has been based in Tacoma, WA since 1991 and is the Global leader in understanding the Grocerant niche. View my complete profile at: or leave a comment or question below. I can be reached at 253-759-7869. Who’s fighting for your customers and winning?

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