“Like brands only cheaper” is Aldi’s mantra. Why do I need to buy Kellogg’s Corn Flakes when I can buy Aldi’s version for 39p less? Seems like a fair question on the surface. So why is Kelloggs still the UK’s number one cereal brand with 85% of household cupboard’s containing the brand’s products?
If my time working in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) trade has taught me anything, it is that success in an ever competitive market requires strong brands. Brands stand for loyalty, a belief in function and quality but most importantly brands mean trust.
Operating in a £177 billion market place breeds fierce competition which is fantastic for the consumer, as to stay ahead of the game these organisations must bring market leading innovation specific to particular consumers in order to maintain loyalty.
It is no co-incidence that household brands have been around for many years and have successfully survived the test of time. The very clever people behind these brands have the perfect recipe for success. By focusing on the needs and requirements of their consumers and customers, brands like Coca-Cola and Colgate understand and therefore provide a targeted range of products to support these segmented needs.
I can see the eyes rolling at the Chartered Institute of Marketing from here. Yes, brands are much more complex than my ‘University of Life’ definition but the question remains, if brands are so important to the products we choose to consume, where are they in the Pressure Care industry?
On the surface pressure mattress brands may have little in common with food shopping! However, the way consumer markets have matured, and in particular the suppliers’ reaction to our maturing and changing needs, is important. As consumers, we have become fussy and developed very different needs. Those providing products in the FMCG market have learned to understand how to develop products to satisfy this diversity. Product ranges haven’t appeared by accident.
Brands have segmented their markets, honed in on a target audience with specific requirements and critically developed very specific ranges to meet them. Brand leaders will even advise the retailers on what ‘other’ brands are needed to offer a complete portfolio to meet all their shopper needs. Brand leaders will accept that they cannot be ‘special’ for everyone and concede ground to ‘others’ when they advise the leading supermarket chains on what to stock.
Within the Pressure Care industry, can you imagine ArjoHuntleigh advising a hospital to buy their Nimbus pressure redistributing mattress, Invacare’s Softform pressure mattress, Sidhil’s Innov8 hospital bed and Select Medical’s Pure Air Bariatric alternating pressure mattress?
Ok! I get that the care industry is different from FMCG and we will never move to that market dynamic, but what can the pressure care industry learn from it…? Well I have given it some thought.
There are parallels to be drawn; the care industry is:
- Segmented with very different types of customers; care homes, hospices, community loans stores and even hospitals.
- A whole range of individuals administering care; Community DN’s, A care home carer, A family member in a home setting. All with very different levels of expertise in delivering particular care.
- Finally there is a patient to consider! And here the different wants and needs are endless.
Do we really believe the only difference all these stake holders require is a pressure relieving overlay mattress or a full replacement mattress? I don’t think so! I’ll talk more about how I see the different segments, customer and consumer needs in the coming weeks. Big brands might not be the answer… right now I would take Aldi’s mantra in the care sector in a heartbeat. Because we would understand these differences and create products and ranges to meet them. “Like a brand only cheaper” – yes please.
1. DNA Digital News Agency (2013) [online] Available at: http://www.digitalnewsagency.com [Accessed 17.11.2015]
About the Author – David Elstone
David Elstone is MD at Select Medical Ltd. His professional background, of over 15 years, covers operational activites and marketing within the FMCG industry for a global hygiene market leader. David has a strong appetite for operational excellence and a fervour for what makes consumers passionate about brands.