The supplier, the wholesaler and the consultant world descended on Orlando, Florida last week for the annual WSWA convention. It was a collection of people everybody knew, and people hardly known and I fell squarely in the middle of that spectrum. Weather was wonderful, food and drink were flowing and there was a lot of “bar” conversations about the state of our industry. Below is a collection of key observations from the annual soiree’.
- The concept of “share of mind” is still foreign to most brands. Thinking you have the best “name your category” in America is a mind trick you are playing on yourself. For your brand to be successful, you will need to take money or sales from another brand. Know your competitor, know your price point and know who you are gunning for. Remain firmly fixated on that target.
- I spoke on a leadership panel on Sunday. Myself, the president of Breakthru and others were all talking about brand sales and I mentioned the concept of brand “pull” and the room went silent. The kind of silent people get when they don’t know a concept or theory. Brand pull is arguably the most important part of sales. We, BevStrat can sell in, the brand still needs supplier support to pull off the shelf. PULL is the most important part of selling into on and off premise accounts. Know your PULL plan.
- Like algebra in 8th grade, the adult concept of math and pricing remains elusive to many suppliers. Know your laid-in, FOB, x cellar, and other key price points, and for heaven’s sake, know your SRP. All these initials are not alphabet soup but rather key benchmarks for brand success. I sat in meetings for three days with wonderful brands and wonderful suppliers and had to explain FOB more than a few times. You cannot set market shelf price, but you can impact the other levers in a pricing decision tree.
- Pick your market by where are you most likely to have success. So many, I mean tons of people, wanted to be in LA or NY. When pressed for a WHY Los Angeles, one maker told us that his kids lived there, and he liked to visit. The funny thing about the brand, it had the word Brooklyn in the title. Your brand will find its audience in the locale where it is meant to be sold.
All in all, I love the show. It is a chance to meet new players in the game and also acquire new business. It is a chance to really tell if you are on the right path with your brand, distributor and consulting practice. Most importantly for us at BevStrat, it is a chance to continually be challenged by our clients to be better and hold our distributor partners to more accountability.
If you have the chance to attend next year, I would highly recommend going. I will be the bald guy at the bar, likely in jeans and a sportcoat, talking about how to be better at what we all do.
Three Tier Talk
by Brian Rosen, www.BevStrat.com
Brian Rosen is Former CEO of America’s #1 Retailer, Sam’s Wines in Chicago, Former Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Retail and sought after retailer consultant.
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