Consumer products companies cover a vast array of product categories and come in many shapes and sizes. Strategic decision-making is often made challenging by the complexity of these businesses, which can have multiple brands or divisions, target consumer groups, geographies, channels of distribution, and so on. Consider the following market dynamics:
- The marketplace is facing channel disruption on a dramatic scale, growing ecommerce penetration and the continued strengthening of Amazon, new and disruptive business models, demographic shifts and renewed spending priorities, highly informed and empowered consumers, and rapidly evolving technologies.
- The changing channel landscape is forcing many consumer brands to restructure their go-to-market strategies to drive more productivity from fewer points of distribution, and to build direct-to-consumer strategies that require capabilities and expertise that don’t typically reside in-house today.
- The role and influence of brands have also evolved. Today, consumers are increasingly looking for “specialty” brands that deliver on precise needs, and thus they grant brands less “permission” to expand beyond their core. The appeal of power brands has eroded, and the prevalence of private label and other value brand alternatives gives consumers many choices when they’re trading down, particularly in an hourglass economy. This makes it paramount for any branded consumer products company to take a hard look at its brand proposition and ensure it is sufficiently relevant and compelling.
L.E.K. Consulting combines deep industry expertise, fact-based insights and sophisticated analytics to identify solutions to complex issues and to build confidence among management teams so they can take informed strategic action. Consumer products companies partner with us to deliver strategies that drive growth, create competitive advantage, unlock profit and value creation opportunities, and mitigate risk. Our approach is highly objective and fact-based, but we also take extraordinary care to involve management teams throughout the process, as appropriate, to ensure full alignment.
How we help
Consumer products companies, from small emerging brands to large global enterprises, engage us to:
- Accelerate growth. Our core focus is growth strategy, with a track record of guiding consumer products companies to prioritize the right growth vectors and align on how to activate the strategies necessary to realize tangible results. We can address this challenge by applying different lenses; for example, evaluating opportunities based on Edge Strategy® and Strategic Market Position principles, and grounding strategic options in deep consumer understanding — both psychographic and behavioral — and brand position to clearly define “permission” areas of highest strategic value, conduct rigorous market evolution framing, and perform business case and scenario analysis.
- Define brand position and strategy. We believe that strategy should be consumer-driven — it must be grounded in a sound view of your core target consumer segments, what they value, how they behave along the purchase path, what motivates them to make decisions, etc. Positioning your brand squarely against the right consumers and in the right way follows from this. Deep analytics and years of expertise allow us to bring the right strategic frameworks and guidance to clients to focus their brands appropriately and allow them to unlock superior value.
- Define the right channel strategy. We help clients navigate this very complex issue by clearly defining the roles, rules and related strategies for each channel segment. In doing so, we assist clients with many aspects of channel strategy, including deciding where and where not to participate, growing sales and profit productivity across points of distribution, restructuring distribution in light of legacy and digital channel evolution, refining distributor and marketplace strategies, building or recalibrating DTC strategies, defining holistic digital and ecommerce strategies, and more.
- Execute value-creating deals. We support our clients at every stage of the deal life cycle — from evaluation to diligence to integration to growth planning. We have helped our consumer products clients execute billions of dollars’ worth of transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, other partnerships, and divestitures.
How to Price in a Post-COVID, Post-Inflationary World
Consumer businesses have faced dramatic increases in input costs over the past 24 months, primarily due to the lingering impact of COVID-19. To avoid profit erosion, most responded by passing these cost increases on to consumers in the form of higher prices. But consumers, concerned with a potential recession, are adjusting their spending behaviors. Business leaders should review pricing principles and ask themselves how they can make pricing a strategic lever that drives revenue and margin growth.
How Home Furnishings Brands Can Gauge Their DTC Potential
Home furnishings companies are questioning whether — and to what degree — a direct-to-consumer (DTC) presence is right for their brand and business. DTC capabilities extend a brand’s offerings beyond wholesale and marketplace channels, potentially boosting margins and strengthening consumer relationships. But brands don’t all have to invest in DTC the same way. Neither do they have equal likelihood of DTC success.
Net Sentiment Score: A Quick and Accurate Insight Into Your Consumers’ Minds
The explosion of consumer reviews on the internet has provided many businesses with a much greater insight into what their customers think and feel about them before, during and after they engage with a product or service. But how can businesses, and those who market for them, best interpret this vast pool of commentary to get a clearer insight of the overall sentiment?
Finding Success with Fresh Prepared Foods
Fresh prepared foods (FPF) were a large and high-growth market prior to the pandemic, with sales accelerating 7%-10% year over year for the past decade. Offering FPF is a way for retailers to compete with Amazon and other ecommerce players. A fresh, hot prepared meal keeps their store footprint relevant and drives traffic by creating a destination for consumers.