LONDON: For a brand to grow, it must understand its target market, become the first brand that people see as they move towards a purchase, and stimulate demand – though not necessarily through advertising – an industry figure has argued.

Writing in the current issue of Admap, Paul Murphy, Director of Solutions at Kantar Worldpanel UK, offers advice for brands in an article, entitled Five principles for targeting brand growth.

First, he argues that the brand must understand itself. “You need to understand how your brand is bought and used – and which other brands are chosen in a similar way – to properly define the category that you are competing in,” he writes.

In addition, comprehension of the category illuminates the future growth trajectory, allowing the brand to formulate marketing objectives that will attract extra buyers.

“Good advertising creates overall better conditions for brand growth – affecting the probability that a buyer will notice and recognise a brand when the time comes to buy something.”

But this is not enough to draw in new buyers, he continues. “To grow consistently every year, activity at the point of purchase must be improved. The 'mad men' must connect with the 'trade men' to truly succeed.”

Meanwhile, Murphy maintains that Byron Sharp’s mantra of physical availability holds true; the advertising might be fulfilling objectives, “yet if availability reduces, then sales will fall immediately and permanently”.

In addition, he says, the biggest brands are not just available – they are dominant. “If the effects of successful advertising can't transfer into your brand achieving more availability, perhaps your advertising isn't really working well enough.”

To find that dominance, a brand must leave no need within its purview “unturned”, he adds. “The brands that can create products that either better fulfil existing needs, solve new ones, or preferably do both, to ultimately increase their overall availability in-store and attract more people, will be the ones that will grow more significantly”.

Finally, he cautions against short-term promotion tactics, however tempting because of their capacity to bring in more buyers. There is little sense for long-term growth as “these [promotion] buyers will disappear as soon as the price promotion stops”.

“Without connecting all the pieces together, brands are not maximising the opportunities that advertising gives them,” he concludes.

“Understanding the market you are in so as to target appropriately and then using all growth levers, both strategically and tactically, is how to grow brands sustainably and profitably.”

Data sourced from Admap