Photo: Flickr / gnta
The best brands not only come up with great new products, but are able to successfully defend themselves from others.Kellogg School Of Management professor Tim Calkin’s new book “Defending Your Brand” is full of examples of how companies have aggressively defended their market share, using whatever means were necessary.
One example of an aggressive strategy stood out:
“In 1997 Procter & Gamble was preparing to introduce its Ariel brand of detergent to that market. Unilever was the category leader — with a market share of about 80 per cent — and the company was logically concerned about P&G’s entry. Shortly before P&G’s launch, Unilever apparently began running advertisements for a small toilet-seat maker, Ariel del Plata. The ads featured rear ends and toilet seats, repeating again and again “Ariel, Ariel, Ariel.” The campaign effectively connected the name Ariel with toilets, wiping out any chance that Procter & Gamble would be able to make consumers associate the name with detergent.”
Ariel (the toilet seat company) had not never advertised before, it came completely out of the blue. Proctor and Gamble complained to the Argentinian government, but the damage was already done.
By running a series of unrelated ads from a tiny subsidiary, Unilever was able to successfully blunt a huge rollout by a big rival, and maintain its dominance in the market.
It just goes to show that if you’re willing to get your hands dirty, you can finish off a competitor before they even have a chance.
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