In both of these cases, large consumer companies (Playtex and Revlon) had brands (Playtex Gloves and Flex Shampoo) that had not seen top-line growth in over 10 years. Playtex Gloves were under assault from low price, Asian imports and Flex was a case study in poor marketing management similar (except in scale) to New Coke. After years of success, Flex, a “value” brand was re-launched as a “premium” brand and soon saw its number 1 market share fade to the bottom-end of the top 10 brands.
The Turnaround – Born from Analysis and Planning
Both brands were in harvest mode and neither was receiving quality analysis nor investment. Yet after an assessment and planning process, it was determined that there were critical, under-leveraged business drivers for both of the brands. For Gloves, it was determined that gaining retail distribution was the most important brand and category driver. For Flex, it was determined that promotional pricing was the key driver. For both brands, these drivers were far more effective than advertising, every day shelf price and even more important than product quality.
After plans were drafted, agreed to and found financially sound, the brands shifted their tactical plans and marketing mix and refocused on their respective business drivers. By redirecting existing spending, both brands were both able to reverse 10 year trends and neither brand required new or incremental funding.
There are many lessons from these two cases including: that there are likely no time limits for turning around quality brands and that a basic business assessment and planning process can have dramatic results even in “lost cause” cases.
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