Growing Against All Odds

Sep 24, 2003

By George Anderson

A new study by Bain & Company, Brand Growth: Beating the Odds, contends there are no tired brands, just tired brand managers.

According to the study covering 524 brands in 100 product categories, heavily advertised, innovative brands grew up to three times faster than their competitors.

“The most significant point is that any brand can win,” said John Blasberg, leader of Bain’s North American Consumer Products practice.

“If brand managers want to outpace the competition with odds of three to one in their favor, they need to come up with something different,” said Blasberg. “It can be a new product, positioning or packaging.”

Bain & Company offered Oreos as an example of a winning brand (defined as those that gained share every year for four straight years). From 1997 to 2001, the brand rolled out new cookie varieties and package sizes while increasing advertising expenditures. According to Bain, Nabisco spent $34 million supporting the Oreos brand in 2001, approximately one out of every three dollars spend on advertising in the entire cookie category.

Moderator’s Comment: What does it take to introduce and keep growing a brand? What lessons can retailers take from studies such as Bain & Company’s
and the experience of national brands in growing their own brand identity?
Anderson – Moderator

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