Who's the Keeper of Your Brand Zest?
Perhaps you read earlier this month that Procter & Gamble sold most of its Zest soap business to a private equity company. After 60 years it was determined that this product line was no longer a strategic fit. Despite its various product extensions over the years (Aqua, Ocean Breeze, Marathon) and its combination tactics (Hair + Body), and the unique addition of ingredients (Hint of Honey), Zest no longer met Proctor & Gamble’s “secret sauce” criteria. No doubt this was a tough decision. I applaud the company for deciding to ultimately support their long-term brand purpose.
As I mentioned when I started this column, Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen’s axiom is my merchandising golden rule: “A product has a job to do for your customer.” I also mentioned that and I expanded on that a bit and addded: “A product has a job to do for your brand.” Obviously the business leaders at Procter & Gamble felt that Zest lost both its customer and brand zest along the way.
I believe that merchants most often play the role of “keeper of the brand zest.” Their job is to constantly evaluate the product pipeline for relevance, innovation and value all while monitoring customer engagement and reaction through the actual merchandise sales. How are the customers voting with their pocketbooks? With their hearts? What’s happening competitively? Are their products being buzzed about in social media circles? Just how lively are your new product development efforts?
Before their products run out of zest, brand leaders and merchants need to pay attention to the power of all the words we’ve discussed here these last few months. Why not review your line through this checklist of purposeful product vocabulary (amaze, befriend, charm, define, gratify, enable, fantasize, gratify, help, intrigue, jolt, kindle, lure, meaning, nudge, optimize, provoke, quench, reveal, surprise, tantalize, understand, verify, wow and yearn) and start your own zestful conversation today?