The Channel Strategy
Channel Strategy to Create Brand Preference
Channel Strategy. Branding Tug of War — Sometimes brands need a push and a pull
Channel strategy is important to many. There are a number of companies that require a third party to distribute their products. Companies and brands like Nike, Nintendo, GE, P&G, and Sheetrock (USG). Brands like, HP, and Benadryl all require, with varying degrees, a third party to bring their products to market.
These companies and others like them rely on the Walmart’s, EB Games, Home Depot’s, and Piggly Wiggly’s of the world. They need them to sell their wares and be the first line in the execution of their brands.
Can your channel strategy aid in brand preference development?
Brand Makeup in Channel Strategy
Normally, when we speak of branding we typically approach the art form from the perspective of the ultimate end-user. In order to build preference, create market pull, and finally generate revenue. While ultimately, this is absolutely the correct thing to do. Many companies such as the ones listed above, cannot forget about the necessity to push their brands. Using a channel strategy (selling mediums) as well.
Many companies who sell their products through intermediaries. For them it is essential to understand the critical ingredients needed to make the brand relevant. Relevant to the actual sellers of the product. As well as the final end-users.
If we were looking at dividing the relevance of the brand. Between sellers of the product and the end-user, for example. The make up of the brand needs to be about 20% directed at the product seller (channel strategy) and 80% at the end user. Make no mistake. in order for any brand to be successful in today’s marketplace, the DNA of the brand must be a reflection of the end-user. The end-user’s belief set. However, it must also be peppered with the belief set of those in the channel strategy as well.
Peeling Back the Layers of channel strategy
If done correctly, this should pose no real concern in the delivery of the brand.
After all, we, at Stealing Share, look at the preceptive fiber of individuals to be universal. That is, that an individual’s precepts or, beliefs about their world they believe to be truths. These beliefs affect every single decision they make about their lives. From what brands they choose to how they rear their children to what they do in their spare time.
The only way to uncover the synergies in the precepts between the channel and the end-user is to conduct research. Research that goes beyond strictly looking at usage and attitudes, market intelligence, and awareness.
This kind of research must be able to peel back the layers of protection. Those that individuals use to hide their true motives, fears, and precepts.
Branding to the channel strategy as well as the end-user allows a brand to increase its brandwidth. In short, brandwidth is a brand’s ability to get through the clutter. The mess and noise of the myriad of marketing and advertising messages out there. By, being as relevant as possible to those the brand wishes to influence without having to have the largest share of voice.
It is all about the “amplitude” of the voice.
Lets face it, retailers, dealers, wholesalers, and distributors have a whole host of product providers they could choose. You need them to sell yours. And, while customer demand is the primary driver in choosing the products they choose to sell, it is not the only thing that influences that decision.
In order to maximize your efforts in brand preference. Preference development as you consider the channel strategy. It is essential that the brand has meaning to the individuals at each stop the brand makes in the channel.
Not only is the choice of a specific brand a reflection of who the end user believes themselves to be. For the retailer, it is also a reflection of who the retailer is.
Brands being a reflection of who the retailer is exemplified best by Walmart. Walmart constantly flexes it’s buying power muscle in deciding what products they choose to sell.
A quick Google search reveals a number of products that have either been pulled from Walmart’s shelves. Or, have never made it to them in the first place.
The products that Walmart sells reflects what kind of retailer Walmart believes themselves to be. While brands need to appeal to retailers, as good brand stewards. It is essential that brands select the correct retailers, distributors, wholesalers, and dealers to distribute their products.
To the end-user, the place of purchase of any brand affects the perceived meaning of that brand. And, as a result, who the customers believes they are when they are using that brand.
Brand permission matter in channel strategy too
This deals with the permission of the brand to be in a specific outlet and the permission of the outlet to carry the specific brand. Branding products that are not direct to consumer can be an extremely complex process if you do not use the correct tools.
Making this process as simple as possible. This mandates careful resource management and asking the right questions.
To maximize success, managers must begin to shift their thinking from the efficacy of the product to the efficacy of the BRAND. Which, to be as successful as possible, must be carefully examined. Examined from the perspective of everyone the brand contacts.