From Publishers Weekly
In an age when Crest toothpaste comes in 45 varieties, consumers long for companies that make life easier by reducing choices, claim Cristol, a marketing consultant, and Sealey, a former global marketing director at Coca-Cola. Playing off the four "P"s (product, price, promotion and placement) that many marketers use to hone their strategic thinking, Cristol and Sealey have come up with four "R"s. "Replace" is shorthand for designing a single product to replace two separate ones (e.g., a shampoo that contains a conditioner). "Repackage" means offering products together that were previously available only in separate locations (e.g., a brokerage firm may choose to sell mutual funds provided by its competitors). "Reposition" entails promoting one's product or brand as standing for simplicity itself (e.g., Honda's old slogan, "We make it simple"). "Replenish" is an odd term for "providing a readily available, continuous supply of zero-defect products or services to the existing customer base... [so] the customer only [has] to make the purchase decision once" (e.g., a McDonald's hamburger in Maui tastes exactly like one sold in Maine). While Cristol and Sealey's focus on simplicity is solid, and their four "R"s make for a useful checklist, their anecdotal examples don't always measure up. Proctor & Gamble, which they cite as an example, has been underperforming, and while McDonald's may stand for consistency, as the authors note, the number of choices it now offers is a far cry from the days of plain old hamburgers, fries and a drink. In the end, more detailed case studies of companies that exemplify each of the "R"s would have helped this effort make the grade. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
For years, makers and marketers of consumer goods and services have been offering more and more product varieties as they attempt to target more and more discreet groups of consumers. As Cristol and Sealey report, however, we may have reached a tipping point. Someone wanting to buy Crest toothpaste must now choose among 45 options (tube or pump, gel or paste, etc.); the purchaser of orange juice has 70 choices to make among six different brands. This proliferation of product choices has resulted in "customer overload," and the authors warn "the next generation of positioning successes will belong to those brands that relieve customer stress." Cristol is a brand strategy consultant, and Sealey is Coca-Cola's former global marketing director and now a marketing professor. Using dozens of examples from companies that have already successfully begun to simplify, they demonstrate their "4 R's" strategy: replace (substitution and consolidation), repackage (aggregation and integration), reposition (simplifying the customer "brandscape"), and replenish (continuous supply, zero defects, and competitive price). David RouseCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved