Hi, I'm Sarah from Repsly. As a CPG brand you know how competitive the retail environment can be. On top of your internal pain points, you have to fight to go faster than your rivals on the shelf, be ready to box out new brands trying to break into the category, and smartphone wielding shoppers are choosier than ever. To cut through these competitive forces and win in your category you're going to need a strategy. Let's make sure yours is working as hard as you are. Back in the 70s this smart guy from Harvard named Michael Porter established a model for competitive analysis known as Porter's Five Forces. You don't need to know the details about his theory but we're going to use it to look at some of the problems you see every day and help you position your brand for success. Starting off with the rivalry you have current competitors, you probably compete based on price. The truth is - the more intense the competition for profit the more destructive it can be for you. Porter suggests you find ways to concede on dimensions other than price such as features, brand image, and company values. Doing so differentiates you from your competitors in a more effective way. For example - when Health-Ade Kombucha entered the scene in 2012, instead of imitating category leader GT they made their messaging, branding, and even their bottle design completely different. Now, there's no mistaking them for another brand. Now, let's talk about the threat of new entrants. You're trying to occupy this growing space and so are other hungry young companies. You already have a pulse on who your competitors are but don't get too distracted that you ignore new companies in your category. These companies are looking to take advantage of a gap in the industry and pounce on it. Beat them to the punch. You have an established customer base, manufacturing capabilities, and distribution channels that will help you occupy these spaces first. You hear a hip new company is trying to establish itself in your category? Do a competitor audit to reveal how they're trying to differentiate themselves? Then you can deliver on their best flavor or feature to your customer first before they can grow enough to threaten you. And now who do you need on your side to help you deliver on these goals? Your retailers and customers. Because there is so much diversity in the food and bev’s base your buyers have a lot of influence over pricing and can be very sticker sensitive. This is not likely to change, but you can still position yourself to deter customers from switching to a competitor that undercuts you. Porter suggests you can achieve this by differentiating your brand from competitors and promoting brand loyalty. If your product becomes irreplaceable to them you minimize prices affect on your consumers purchasing decisions. If you're the only one that makes your product retailers will have no choice but to buy it if customers demand it, which makes you have more power when it comes to price. Just be sure not to get too niche that you don't have enough buyers to make the product profitable. Now, we know the CPG space is growing. Rather than fighting over the existing space try looking for new and emerging areas and be the first to occupy them. This will establish you as an industry leader, minimizing the opportunities for new businesses to become threats on the shelf and increasing brand loyalty among your customers. If you have a smart strategy you can shift these forces in your favor. Your internal pain points need attention but don't get stuck in your bubble. Always keep a pulse on your industry and do competitive analyses and competitor audits offices. Remember that analysis shapes strategy your strategy will be narrower if your analysis is too narrow. Now, find the new and weak spots in your industry and go after them pay attention to your external competitive landscape and you'll position your brand for success
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