Our must-read column, Market Well, explores the key marketing strategies that are essential for the growth of a wellness business.
Every month, Vicky Ellison, who is also the Director of Marketing for Equinox in the UK, examines how brands can create and maintain a marketing campaign that connects with both their intended audience and potential investors.
Providing valuable insight into the methods, services, and tools needed for both new and established businesses to drive exposure and boost brand value, this month Vicky is focusing on the use of analysis and positioning to help your business become more successful…
As pressure on brands to create newness and buzz continues to mount, it can be all too easy to jump from one campaign to the next; but taking time to pause, analyse and reflect is vital to the success of your business.
It goes without saying that all brands want to be successful. But, while there’s no magic formula, there are steps you can take that will help put you on an upward trajectory.
Analyse your position
When was the last time you did a SWOT analysis on your brand?
The SWOT grid of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats is a basic tool taught early on in any marketing or business course. It’s a simple system that allows you to sit back and assess your business’s current position, opportunities for where you could go and what could impact your efforts to get there. And, it’s a worthwhile exercise as it gives you a chance to look objectively at all of the factors at play in determining your brand’s success.
Within your analysis, depending on how deep you want to go, it is also worth including a competitor analysis, customer and market analysis and a review of your business efficiency and finances to see where any improvements can be made.
What sets your business apart? What role do you play and who are you playing it for? Who else serves that purpose? And, what external factors could become an issue in your future?
You can do this ahead of launching a business to identify your unique selling points, or at any time you feel you need to take stock of your position.
Play to your strengths
Armed with insights from your SWOT, take time to look at your niche. The best approach is to try and simplify your view. Decide what it is your brand is good at, and do it really well.
UK gym chain PureGym, positions itself as low cost and convenient; and that is what it delivers. You won’t find spas and cafes, but you can work out 24 hours a day for a cheap monthly fee, and the brand’s dedication to its position is paying off. It became the UK’s largest fitness operator in 2016, according to the 2016 State of the Leisure Industry report.
Take another example from across the pond –– US phenomenon SoulCycle. Its mission was to create an alternative fitness routine that didn’t feel like work. The brand wanted to create a joyful experience on a bike that inspired community, and that is what it’s done. SoulCycle hasn’t tried to move into running, or the recent trend of immersive boxing classes, instead it has stuck to what it does well and its customers have stuck by the brand.
On the flip side brands like Coca-Cola show what happens when market threats cause you to take an unexpected direction. When Coke tried to dabble in the wellness space with the launch of Coke Life, a lot of people successfully predicted it would fail.
These examples show it is important to understand how your brand is perceived and to build loyalty based upon what it stands for. Be mindful of competitors but be bold in your position and avoid knee-jerk decisions based solely on trends happening around you.
Know what you’re not
At the same time as gaining an understanding of your strengths, it’s important to get comfortable with what you’re not. If your brand is premium and high-cost, you need to be ok with selling lower volumes and not seeing it on the shelves of all major supermarkets. Luxury activewear brand Lucas Hugh are only available at 6 UK stockists; all premium, on-brand locations including Harrods, Selfridges and Equinox. If your focus is cost efficiency, you might need to opt for the cheaper, second-best packaging option to maintain your margins.
Be congruent in all aspects of your brand
Your positioning and audience should come into every decision you make, from the look and feel of your product to the brand language and your brand partnerships.
I recently met with a protein bar brand pitching itself as premium, however, a closer look at its stockists revealed a list dominated by petrol stations and one mass supermarket. This highlights how important it is to have congruency across all the factors people will consider when judging your brand.
When UK cold-pressed juice brand Plenish introduced cold-pressed juices to the London market the brand was determined in its dedication to organic wellness. It sold through Whole Foods and select premium partners, its packaging and delivery methods were all carefully considered with sustainability in mind, and it opted for the most expensive juicing methods to ensure it delivered on its product promise. As a result, the company has grown to produce a broader range sold through multiple outlets.
Stay current, but take your customers with you
It’s important to move with the times whilst remaining true to your core values, and it’s vital you bring your customers along with you.
In 2015, Weight watchers made a big shift away from pure calorie counting to a more holistic approach to lifestyle. However, its core purpose remained the same and its partnership with Oprah Winfrey, an influencer that resonated with its audience, helped bring its customers along in support of the shift. The change proved successful with the company experiencing positive member recruitment growth throughout 2016, and share price increases of 25%+ at the close of the year.
But, if you make a wrong turn, don’t be afraid to learn and shift.
Back in 2009 PepsiCo tried to rebrand Tropicana, but the new packaging received such a backlash it reverted to the old design after only a month. It remains similar as a supermarket staple today showing full recovery from the temporary drop in sales. In 2016 Tropicana was the US’ leading refrigerated orange juice brand with sales of over $930 million.
It’s worth repeating your SWOT or chosen analysis methods at regular intervals to keep your strategy in check, and to ensure you have your eyes open to market changes, especially in our ever changing world of wellness.