Knowledge Bank Blog, Pricing & Promotions, Range & Portfolio, Shopper Communication, Channel Execution

Does Size Matter?

What do you think… does size matter?  Well, It depends what you are talking about.

Let’s take sport as an example.  In basketball, size definitely matters.

The average height of an American male is 5ft 9in.  The average height of a NBA player is 6ft 7in.  Being tall increases your chances of being a NBA player.  But being really tall significantly increases your chances.  The probability of an American male between 6ft 6in and 6ft 8in tall becoming an NBA player is 0.07%.  The probability if you are 7ft or above is 17%.

What about being small?  Is that an advantage?  Yes, if you want to be a female gymnast.  Smaller gymnasts have a much better size to strength ratio.  Most female gymnasts are less than 5ft 2in tall.  Simone Biles, who won four Gold Medals at the Rio Olympics is 4ft 8in.

However, in a lot of other sports, size doesn’t really matter.  Lionel Messi, who most people consider to be the best footballer in the world, is 5ft 7in.  Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who considers himself to be the best footballer in the world, is 6ft 5in.

Sometimes being big is an advantage.  Sometimes being small is an advantage.  A lot of the time it doesn’t matter.

Why are we talking about this?  Well, there has been a lot of talk in our industry recently about whether size matters.  Is it better to be a big brand or a small brand?

If you are a big brand you have some advantages.  You are likely to have more distribution, more shelf space.  You are likely to have more resources – money to spend on advertising and promotions.  But you also have some disadvantages.  You have more history, more infrastructure, often more constraints.

If you are a small brand you have some potential advantages.  You can be agile and move quickly.  But you have some disadvantages.  You have less distribution, less shelf space.  You have fewer resources – less money to spend on advertising and promotions.

So, is it better to be a big brand or a small brand?  We think it doesn’t matter.  The rules for winning with shoppers are the same rules whether you are big or small.

So, what are some of these rules?

Have a great product.  Shoppers don’t stand in front of a shelf thinking “I want to buy a big brand” or “I want to buy a small brand”.  They stand in front of a shelf thinking “I want to buy a great product”.  If taste is important they want a product that tastes great.  If cleaning is important they want a product that cleans really well.

Sounds obvious, right?  But it is really easy to lose sight of this.  It is easy to get lost in your brand positioning, in your latest communication campaign.  It is easy to think that you can save some money.  You de-spec the product a little.  You might get away with it.  So you do it again.  You might not get away with it that time.  Take your eye off product quality at your peril.  Big or small, you need to have a great product.

Charge a fair price.  We are talking about a fair price not a low price.  A fair price is your base price.  Are shoppers prepared to buy you at your normal price?  If a lot of shoppers only buy you when you discount, then you are probably not charging a fair price (or just promoting way too frequently).

A fair price is the right balance between the quality or performance a product delivers and the price you are asking for.  A fair price can mean charging shoppers more for a superior product.  It can mean charging more for convenience – e.g. prepared vegetables should cost more than standard vegetables.  It can mean charging more for specific health benefits.  Big or small you need to charge a fair price.

Sell in the most relevant places.  The places that are most relevant to shoppers. The most relevant place used to be in the home category aisle in the supermarket.  The most relevant places now could be 3 or 4 possible locations in a supermarket.  They might not be in a supermarket – it could be online, in a discounter, in a convenience store or a food to go outlet.

This is where the mentality is often different between a big brand owner and a start up.  The big brand owner often thinks “where do we currently sell”?  The start up thinks “where should we be selling”? Big or small you need to sell in the most relevant places.

Have a crystal clear proposition.  Those of you who read this Blog regularly will know this is one of our favourites.  Again, it is where we often see a different mentality between big and small brands.  Big brands often want to change things.  They move people around.  The new brand manager, understandably, wants to come in and make an impact.  They regularly reposition or re-launch.  It is a chance to say something different.

A smaller start up often has one chance to succeed.  So, they pick a message.  They communicate it clearly.  They communicate it consistently.  Big or small you need to have a crystal clear proposition.

Of course, these are all things you know.  But they are also things that are easy to lose sight of.

Size doesn’t matter.  Big or small, the rules for winning are the same.

Feel free to forward.  Have a great weekend and speak to you next week.

#clearpropositionbigvsmallbrands #doessizematter