The other week I was in a supermarket that shall remain nameless and I noticed a trolley loaded with milk products. The trolley was parked in the aisle that contained children’s nappies and other dry-goods.
After being in the store for approximately 30 minutes I noticed that the trolley was still there. The various milk products loaded on the trolley were all short shelf life, chilled/refrigerated products that had been sitting outside of the refrigerator for over half an hour.
Brand Champion Responsibilities
This incident reminded me of the responsibility that brand owners or Brand Champions have when it comes to protecting the integrity and consistency of their brands and products.
You might produce a fantastic product or services in the food, health, ICT or any other industry. Your product or service might be absolutely perfect when it leaves your office or warehouse. You may have state of the art manufacturing and quality assurance systems virtually guaranteeing that you produce a high quality and consistent product.
However, unless you take responsibility for your brand to the point where it is used or consumed you run the risk that your brand is negatively impacted by the various industry players who touch your product on its journey to the end-user. In fact, even your end-user can be one of your brand risks.
What do these Risks Look Like?
On its journey from your pristine office or warehouse your product is touched and handled by numerous industry players. For example, by freight and handling members of the supply chain, trade customers and finally the end-user.
The various industry players expose your brand and quality tested product to multiple risks due to various factors including:
- Deliberate damage
- All of the above and more
The Pressure Points
If this was the MasterChef Australia Kitchen Challenge I would suggest that the key pressure points for your brand include:
- Local Pick Up and Delivery to the Main Freight Company
- Intrastate, Interstate or Overseas Freight
- Inland Freight On the Other Side
- Local Pick and Delivery to the Nominated Destination
- Transport and Handling Within Your Customer or Destination
- Warehousing and Handling within Your Customer or Destination
- Transport, Handling and Actual Usage within the End User or Customer
Flow Charting your Pressure Points
So as you can see the whole journey from paddock to plate or manufactured product to installation is littered with risks along the way.
Naturally, the Return on Investment may not make it feasible to implement everything that you would like to do to protect the integrity of your product.
What is most important is that you are aware of where your product is most at risk so that you can take steps to protect it if possible. I suggest you map out the complete journey for your product (from place of manufacture to end consumption and usage). This exercise should highlight where your product is most at risk. You may identify the root cause of negative feedback that you have received in the past. Most importantly, you might identify some cost-effective initiatives to protect your product along its journey from you to the end customer.
In future articles we will look at cost-effective steps that you can implement to protect your brands.
Until then, watch out for the milk in aisle 9.