Thursday, June 16, 2011

Legacy retail foodservice is stepping up the tempo of competitiveness for customer dollars.

Re-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. Re-Branding means positioning 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-2-eat and heat-N-eat 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  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.
Subway’s $5 dollar foot-long was and continues to be a Purple Cow.  The $5 dollar foot-long has been an industry leading market share mover allowing Subway to garner additional share of stomach.
Equally as bold was Domino's change to its core product its pizza and crust! The new crust is 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 were these moves bold, they are targeted directly at the consumer, grounded in consumer relevance. Congratulations Domino’s; marketer’s around the world have been watching in envy, wondering why they have been held back.
 Safeway’s “lifestyle” are another example for ground branding a turn away from 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.

Simply look at the results of companies that have not been bold rather they have been incremental at best.  Perkins, Marie Callender’s and Shari’s all have closed stores this past week.

The challenged for each company is the ability to see and understand the customers focus at its core, not your brands core. Success does leave clues and companies leading the charge in 2012 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 market-share 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.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader within the Grocerant niche. For more on Steven A. Johnson Bing or Google Grocerant or visit or on

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