The 2017 “Running of the Brands” Competition has Begun

We are still at the stage in which people still wish others Happy New Year. When does that stage end exactly? Some people just don’t get the memo. Every. Year. With brands, the honeymoon stage with 2017 is already over. It’s been over. For some brands, the end of 2016 left them considering their planned strategies for their businesses in 2017. Some are being cautious going into the New Year, others are considering planning bold strides in the next 12. Whatever their plan, they already entered the (what I call) “Running of the Brands” competition — a high intensity scramble to not be trampled be the competition and come out of 2017 with greater market share, higher revenues and sales volume, and acquiring the competition to make it through mostly unscathed.

These highly successful brands have one very important thing in common: they plan their goals every year and commit to achieving them. It’s kind of like really sticking to your New Year resolution for way longer than a week. If you even make it that far. Maybe we can get inspired by what they are planning and how they are strategizing to not get lost in the clutter of competitive brands in 2017.

Walmart is hoping to catch up to Amazon in 2017 as an e-commerce go-to. After strategically acquiring e-commerce retailer Jet in 2016, Walmart has seen an increase in e-commerce sales for the brand overall, which may help make this goal more attainable (or closer to it). It’s not impossible, yet Amazon holds the lead as an e-commerce brand. As a big box retailer, Walmart has a better chance of competing with Amazon than other more specialized brands. Growing the e-commerce side of the business is the new frontier for Walmart. Success all depends on where Walmart moves their bishop and how Amazon protects their queen. Will we see a checkmate between these two brands this year? For now, as Walmart is in the race, what moves will Walmart make in order to conquer the e-commerce kingdom? We’ll see how this one plays out.

Coach is celebrating 75 years as a top luxury accessories brand. While the brand is well established, the company knows how to stay with the times. The brand recently signed super popular, multi-hyphenated superstar Selena Gomez (a brand in her own right) as a new spokesmodel. Her popularity and standing on social media is also notable (she has over 46 million Twitter followers). In a recent article with The New York Times, Coach designer Stuart Vevers was quoted as saying, “Selena possesses that ease and that romantic charm and that cool confident attitude — that’s what I’m excited about. At the end of the day, the numbers are not my focus. It’s that this feels organic and right for where we are right now.” Gomez’s first ad campaign with Coach is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2017. Adding a fresh face for the brand with a rather large social media following to the brand strategy, Coach may see an increase in sales from millennials, the ultimate consumer generation to reach in the New Year. Can their strategy to out sell their luxury brand competitors — Kate Spade and Michael Kors — this year with Selena Gomez signed on to tap into the millennial market? Let the luxury brand race to the top begin!

Coca-Cola will see some major changes in leadership in 2017. CEO Muhtar Kent is stepping down from his position starting May 2017 and will be succeeded by the 2nd executive, James Quincey. This company as well as other beverage brands are finding challenges selling sugary drinks in a world that is limiting consumption of those beverages. According to The New York Times, Coca-Cola reported a 29 percent sales volume decrease for the Diet Coke brand in 2016. Other beverage brands such as Fairlife, Sprite, and Dasani on the Coca-Cola roster have maintained the brand’s leader status in the industry. Can Quincey keep the company and its brands as top beverages in the market once he takes over? Improving revenue and sales growth are key goals for Coca-Cola in 2017 and in coming years. As the trend towards consuming healthier foods and beverages becomes more influential, the challenges in selling sugary beverages will be more difficult. In this case, the company may want to consider diversifying its product offerings going forward like major competitor PepsiCo. Regardless, Coca-Cola has a lot on its plate this year. They may want to open a cold Coke for the ride of 2017.

As the “Running of the Brands” race continues this year, consider the strategic decisions your favorite brands make in 2017. They all have their own New Year resolutions. Let’s stay tuned to see how they commit, throw their initial goals out the window, and pull some sneaky moves all in the name of success.

Which brand are you rooting for? Let me know!

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