BTS Insights – A new perspective on a Brand’s Evolution
Manufacturing companies don’t own the customer relationship.
They entrust their dealers, retail partners and resellers with being the messengers of their product and brand stories. As the storytellers, dealers get to see the customers’ reactions and hear the feedback on what people like or don’t like about a particular brand.
Our team recently conducted a Brand Transfer Study (BTS) for a brand in this situation. The company manufactures luxury goods and has a network of several hundred retail partners throughout North America. By conducting a BTS with their dealers, they had the opportunity to hear how their message was being received in the market. Their goal was to find ways to build on three-plus years of strong sales results and push into the upper tier of brands in their industry.
The Dealers Have Spoken
Early in 2018, the company embarked on a full rebranding effort. Their name was often confused with another brand in the industry, and they were in desperate need of a clearer identity.
Their plan was simple. They focused on some of the truly unique elements of their history and their manufacturing processes. This allowed the brand to distinguish itself in the market, drive recognition and build a loyal following, both with retailers and consumers.
The brand had arrived. But, rather than just ride the wave of momentum, the head of sales and marketing wanted to know what was working and what wasn’t with consumers, so he went to dealers to find out what they were seeing.
Here is what they learned from their dealers through the BTS research:
- Their product quality stacks up with the best in the business. While company leaders hoped they were building a reputation for quality, the feedback from their retailer partners exceeded their expectations. Dealers trust the brand and that gives them confidence in recommending it to their consumers.
- Their marketing prowess falls short of their product quality. Retailers are hungry for the brand to display some creativity and boldness in building awareness around their brand. It makes their role as brand ambassadors easier.
- The brand needs to mature. Some confusion still exists around some of their legacy products and how they fit in their portfolio.
The combination of being new and having good products was a great story to establish the brand. However, the dealers were clear that the story needs to evolve as they look to reach new customers. The brand has moved into consideration with some more revered products, meaning the competition gets fiercer, and the customer expectations go up significantly.
Putting Insights into Action
Dealers want this brand to succeed. They are believers. The BTS data proved that conclusively.
However, the brand needs them to remain believers if they are going to continue to grow. It is great to have your partners validate where you are having success, but it is even more valuable to have them share areas where they have less confidence. Using the data, the brand is evaluating ways to address the feedback and to demonstrate to their partners that their voice is being heard.
Manufacturers ask their dealers to be their messengers and deliver their unique story to consumers. In this case, being a messenger works two ways. Not only do the dealers relay the brand’s message, but they become a valuable source of customer feedback, needs and preferences. Smart brands will listen and act.