As Paul Trip, MD of Soreen, so eloquently pointed out in his Big Interview in The Grocer last week, some brands just have problems growing up, unless they receive the right kind of help to move on to a better place.
Often these tend to be brands that have not historically been seen as ‘power’ brands but are desirable for a business to invest in. They have probably been allocated lower marketing budgets and have been seen and treated as second-rate citizens in the organisation - a bit like problem teenagers who can’t seem to be able to get on in society without a bit of focus and sight of a bigger picture to help them.
Could we go as far as to say many of these problem teenagers are £5m-£15m medium-sized brands and businesses? They are relative small fry and not seen to be worth too much focus and recognition for what they are. They are often playing in established, mature categories but can’t see how the world has moved on and their new role within in.
I think we are on the cusp of a big change. Many of the territories these problem teenager brands play in are prime for investment.
These brands don’t necessarily, like Soreen, need to be radically changed, they just need to be appreciated for their strengths and given a bit of self belief and TLC. Big organisations are historically not good at doing that.
Soreen was described by Paul Tripp as a lonesome problem child with identity issues. He helped transform it into a mature team player. When you look at the supermarket shelves there are many problem teenagers out there, prime for a bit of ‘rehab’ and refocusing.
Take the growth being enjoyed by the peanut butter category. High in fat it may be, but nuts are healthy and high in protein too. It’s just a different way of looking at things and seeing the potential, just as Whole Earth is doing right now.
Calorie-laden drinks are being reframed as missed meal or filling snack solutions to offset their weaknesses. Home baking, so called healthy snacks and bars, cereals, soft drinks, sweet treats, quick meal solutions - all these categories have their £5m-£15m brands that are currently failing to see the light.
Big businesses need to act with the same business foresight and natural instinct as venture capital teams, angel investors and entrepreneurs.
Liberate your teenager problem brands to take advantage of these obvious opportunities and gaps for growth.
If you don’t you exploit the potential you can be sure someone else will happily take the space for you. You shouldn’t be arrogant enough to think you couldn’t just disappear.