The Blake Project, the brand consultancy behind Branding Strategy Insider, delivers interactive brand education workshops and keynote speeches designed to align marketers on essential concepts in brand management and empower them to release the full potential of the brands they manage.
We’re exploring Brand Management’s 40 Most Common Brand Problems.
Enter Number 34…
Common Brand Problem Number 34: Limiting the brand to one channel of distribution or aligning the brand too closely with a declining channel of trade
Analysis: For years Tupperware was caught in the rut of only being sold directly through Tupperware parties. This very much limited its exposure and growth. It was generally perceived to be a stagnant brand and its US sales declined throughout the 80s and 90s, despite extending the brand into kitchen and baby products. Simultaneously, Rubbermaid extended its brand into numerous new product categories and sold its products in a variety of channels including Wal-Mart. In 1994, Rubbermaid was one of the best-known plastic companies around. However, a few years later it was struggling because Wal-Mart, which accounted for 20% of its sales, would not allow it to increase its prices to cover skyrocketing resin prices. Rubbermaid earnings plunged and then it lost the Wal-Mart account. Due to financial struggles, the Newell Company purchased Rubbermaid in 1998. Tupperware expanded distribution beyond direct to catalogs and mall kiosks in 1992. It also expanded into Target and Kroger stores, however this did not last more than eight months as these sales were cutting into home-based sales. Between 1996 and 1998, it encountered problems with its independent consultants because it did not allow for them to sell Tupperware products online.
This is an example of how Tupperware’s commitment to a primary channel has caused it to struggle with brand exposure and growth over time, while Rubbermaid’s increasing dependence on one retailer (Wal-Mart) for a significant portion of it sales created significant problems for it as well.
Key Point: Carefully craft your distribution strategy, think through pricing issues, be fair to your channel partners and expect and learn how to manage channel conflict. Strengthen your primary channels before entering new ones. And never become too dependent on one channel of distribution for your success.
Sponsored By: Brand Aid