Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
10 May 2010
Monsanto can slice through issues easier with brand
In the world of agricultural biotechnology, this story concerning claims that market leader Monsanto is keeping the science of Roundup Ready from competitors as the patent runs out is an interesting read.
What caught my attention, though, was what competitors were claiming: While Monsanto was delaying the regulatory process, the company would use that time to get farmers hooked on the next generation of Roundup so they wouldn’t need the competitor’s product (and the competition would be a step behind).
“But what interested me most about it is that Monsanto would not have to go that route if its brand had enough meaning to have already hooked those farmers without new technology.”
As a business strategy, it is sneaky (when you understand the regulatory rules, which are complicated at best) and an interesting stealing share tactic.
But what interested me most about it is that Monsanto would not have to go that route if its brand had enough meaning to have already hooked those farmers without new technology. Instead, like everyone else in the category, Monsanto just talks about innovation, technology and feeding people.
Nothing about the farmer.
The situation Monsanto and its competitors are finding themselves in is what we call the B2B trap: Thinking brand only matters when buying consumer products. The thinking goes that, in business, it’s only about business. It’s only about science, cost, ROI, etc. Like all choices are made from a spreadsheet.
Those things are important, but they don’t create preference and they are not what get you in the considered set (especially when all the messages are the same). Without brand, all that’s left to compete on is price and innovation. Yet it’s the brands that give emotional reasons (like, FedEx ) that hold market leadership because they hold an important place in the minds of their target audiences.
This situation with Monsanto is complex, and also deals with access to science so competitors can build traits into Roundup seeds.
But insert other B2B company names and brands and see if this fits: If Monsanto and Roundup Ready meant something to farmers emotionally, then farmers would ignore the competitors’ products because they would all be the same. Who wins then? The one with the emotionally relevant brand.
Too much customer service Tom Dougherty, CEO - Stealing Share 21 June 2018 Too much customer service is a real thing I’ve said this before, but I gotta say it again. Too much customer service drives me bat-shit crazy. Not surprisingly, Best Buy kills me with this....
Dow Jones ousts GE Tom Dougherty, CEO - Stealing Share 20 June 2018 Dow Jones kicks out GE. Now what? In 1896, the stock market adds GE as one of Dow Industrial Average’s first companies. As of June 26th of this year, it will no longer be part of the DJIA. I typically...
Tim Cook is leading the way Tom Dougherty, CEO - Stealing Share 19 June 2018 Apple CEO Tim Cook Tim Cook. Apple Act 2. Like everyone else, I worried about Apple’s succession plan. I was a died-in-the-wool member of the Steve Jobs cult. I was not sure what to make of...