retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Interesting column by marketing expert Barry Curewitz in Advertising Age, in which he suggests that “”as everyone struggles just to stay above water, now is exactly the time to redistribute your resources to develop unique products that deliver a new consumer experience and create a franchise capable of long-term, significant growth.”

Curewitz writes: “Line extensions, brand expansion, true innovation: There's a place for each strategy in every brand portfolio. Introducing line extensions in a mature category is a pre-emptive measure to maintain share of shelf, not stimulate significant growth. Brand expansion works so long as the equity is protected or enhanced and the new products support the initial positioning and identity. Innovation, while risky, offers many more learning experiences for the company as well as much greater growth. Interestingly, there is usually a direct correlation between the resources needed for these initiatives and the potential upside. That's why it's important to include each of these strategies in your plan.”

KC's View:
I think this goes for retailers as well as manufacturers. Innovation, while the greatest risk, also has the greatest reward…and while it may seem counter-intuitive to take big risks at a time of economic tumult, this may be the best time to ignite a little enthusiasm among consumers and build market share.