The Feldwick Factor: Brand leader defenders

Paul Feldwick

What examples are there of a brand leader in a category successfully defending itself against a major branded competitive launch?

Brand manager, food company

What examples? How about PG Tips, Nike, Whiskas, O2, Hellmann's, Heinz Ketchup, Nescafe, Coca-Cola... Actually I find it harder, off the top of my head, to think of examples of brand leaders who failed to defend themselves successfully. But this is like the dog that didn't bark in the night. We don't pay enough attention to the extreme stability of strongly branded markets - by which I am meaning categories where competitors are mainly differentiated by branding and marketing tactics, rather than by fundamental changes in product technology. In such categories, there's either an established brand leader, or two or more brands which stay locked in a fight for leadership, and this is unlikely to change over long periods of time. It's really rather extraordinary that a brand such as Brooke Bond PG Tips has maintained brand leadership, indeed a volume share within the limits of a very few percentage points, over 40 years or so, when you consider how much the world has changed during that time. There's no a priori reason to expect this, and, repeatedly, when I've tested this assumption with students who don't know the facts, they estimate vastly more volatility.