Brand Building & Growth


Growth is an ingrained part of business – if you are not growing you are dying. However, market share growth is exceedingly difficult. Markets are more competitive than ever and marketers must work very hard (and spend a lot of money) for their brands to merely retain their market share.

Brand competition and growth is largely about building two market-based assets: Mental and Physical Availability.

Brands that are easier to buy, for more people in more situations, have greater market share.

Key Findings

  • Most markets are near-stationary, with minimal movements in market share from year to year.
  • The big difference between competing brands is in the number of customers who buy them at all; their penetrations. Big brands have markedly larger customer bases than do smaller brands.
  • To grow you must substantially increase your customer base – the number of customers who buy you.
  • Most buyers of a brand are very light buyers. Buying only 1x in a time period is typically the most common purchase rate. Even big brands – category leaders – have mostly light customers.
  • When brands grow, the biggest movement comes from the very light or non-customers
  • Normal growth is:
    • Getting more of all types of customers
    • Changing the size, not the nature of your customer base
    • More people buying from you in any time period
  • The Pareto rule is not an 80:20 rule but 50-60:20. Only 50-60% of sales come from the top 20% of customers. Sales contributed by heavy buyers are much less than previously thought.
  • Targets to grow through substantially (or only) increasing purchase frequency are a fantasy.
  • Targeting only a segment of customers can’t deliver substantive growth.
  • You compete practically ‘head on’ with all of your competitors
  • Your buyers are loyal, but polygamous, buying from your competitors as well as you
  • You mean little to most of your customers

Best Practice

  • Marketing is important – to reach numerous light customers who hardly think of you at all
  • To grow you must target the entire market
  • Continuous reach is vital
  • Branding is paramount
  • Differentiation is not central to strategy to grow