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The Curious Role of Brand in the Product Life Cycle (2015 Update)

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While the majority of legacy food and beverage brands are in the Late Stage, the business performance of Late Stage brands is quite varied. We divide them into six performance segments based purely key permutations of near vs. long term growth.

A few key findings emerge from this initial deep dive.

  • When we combine Slipping, Struggling and Near End Stage brands, we discover that 1/3 of brands for sale today in food and beverage are exhibiting poor topline performance. This is despite the fact that the vast majority of them have been around for years and most would therefore not be likely to have serious brand awareness problems in their respective trading areas.
  • 42% of late stage brands are outperforming the sector as a whole and doing quite well. Among this group lie key secrets about how to sustain brands long term. In future work, we will be sharing what we learn about these top performers. Note: some of these stronger brands have underlying unit volume declines that represent long term demand problems, often at the category level.
  • Contrary to the sector averages, most late stage brands are either doing poorly or quite well. Only 1/4 are truly flat by any reasonable definition. If you are old and reasonably sized, you are a target. You will either grow well per best practices in long term brand management or you will slip and struggle. This is the brutal reality of a ‘mature’ sector being disrupted heavily by innovative marketing and sales techniques but also by a relentless wave of early and mid-stage premium disruptor brands.

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