Brand Management – Keeping a Pulse on changing Consumer Trends

Who makes an ‘excellent’ Brand Manager? What does it take? While the formula is not exactly a science, a few key ingredients include a solid consumer marketing background and a flair for ‘creative’ design and type of packaging used.  But there is much more….

Being creative in reading and analyzing Consumer Trend Data is essential for keeping a pulse on your target market (see below) and this is where we will delve deep today.

Ideally, a brand manager should deliver/create products that satisfy consumer trends/needs BEFORE they become mainstream (i.e. before trend peak sales and competition supersaturates the market). Understanding consumer trends then, is critical for developing your product strategies.

So how does one tap into Consumer Trend Data? – Trade shows – Vendor meetings – Magazines (I use Canadian Grocer for example for food trends) – Studying data such as AC Neilson. – The Internet (assuming it is a reputable site). – Government Statistics

Cut & paste this site above – this information is key to unlocking future trends. This, coupled with government data (ie demographic data) will help you. Some easy examples you should think about is your target market – Can the elderly read your labels? Can kids and elders open the package easily (assuming you want kids to open the package at all?)

Let’s look at a few more examples. If demographic data indicates people are getting older and the fastest growing household segment is 1-2 people per household (while traditional 4-person households are declining) perhaps you need to look at your packsize i.e. is it logical to develop a 10lb potato bag or perhaps a smaller size given your target market – maybe 2 people can’t consume that much before it is rotten? Or perhaps trend data indicates refrigerator space is at a premium and people can’t buy your huge 2kg tub of ‘whatever’.

Bottom Line – Without keeping your pulse on the consumer you are surely going to be complacent and ultimately your product will be antiquated and obsolete.


About David J. Bartolini, H.B.Sc, MBA

David Bartolini is an Entrepreneur (Consultant), Author and Part-time Professor at Humber College and Instructor at University of Toronto. He is Principal at BARTOLINI CONSULTING. Bartolini Consulting focuses on Retail Merchandising and Branding opportunities for Consumer Packaged Goods’ companies - both manufacturers/growers as well as Retailers ( David Bartolini is a former executive with over 10 years' experience in retail. He has worked for two iconic Canadian retailers (Loblaw and Sears) and is recognized as a leader in driving innovation in both brand/product development and merchandising processes. David's passion for Retail & Food continues outside the corporate arena to academia. Since 2008 he has helped teach hundreds of students through a course: Fundamentals of Retail Merchandising and Brand Management at the University of Toronto and Humber College. He also currently teaches Personal Branding at Mohawk College in Hamilton. David is also author of Insecta, a trilogy written for all ages, mainly focusing on Young Adults.
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