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MARKET POSITIONING

General principles to help brands navigate market turbulence

By our News Team | 2022

Covid and other factors make for a highly uncertain environment for brands. But battening down the hatches isn’t necessarily the answer.

How do brands position themselves to win in an uncertain market when a range of forces – Covid-related and otherwise – are shaping customer behaviour?

According to international data analytics and consultancy firm, GfK, there is no one-size-fits-all answer, but there are three general principles that can help most organisations navigate market turbulence. Zak Haeri, Managing Director at GfK South Africa, outlines those principles.

Market Positioning

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

1. Offence is the best defence

In turbulent times, many organisations batten down the hatches and wait out the storm. They follow a strategy of damage limitation because they do not want to take any bold risks based on an imperfect understanding of how the market dynamics are changing. However, there are also businesses that see volatility as an opportunity to not only protect and consolidate their businesses, but to grow them by taking calculated risks.

There are some brands in nearly every sector that have grown their market share throughout the Covid crisis. They used data and information to make forecasts about the future and made educated bets about where and how they could win in the new reality of lockdowns and global supply chain disruptions. In many instances, these brands have grown at the expense of the brands that, for example, cut marketing budgets and inventory while they waited for the crisis to pass.

2.Make decisions based on facts

Even though data-driven decision-making is one of the buzzwords of the moment, many business decisions are still made based on gut feeling or conventional wisdom. Because human beings are blinkered by dozens of cognitive biases, this can lead to decisions that are irrational or based on a limited perspective of the world. The more complex the decision, the riskier it is to make irrational decisions based on wobbly assumptions.

Changing this picture begins with the humility of admitting that no person knows everything and seeking the facts. Not only can the facts guide the organisation towards making better decisions, they can also build support among stakeholders for doing the right thing. If facts are available, all stakeholders can evaluate them and reach the same conclusion. We always find, however, that using the facts and data to tell a story supports this process.

3.Separate signal from noise

Organisations today are data-rich, with data flooding into their businesses from a growing list of internal systems, external data providers and connected devices. But the real challenge in an age of big data, when data lakes have turned into data swamps, is identifying which data can be translated into valuable business insights. This highlights why it’s important for brands to focus on data quality and work closely with partners who understand how to extract actionable information from their data.

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