It’s remarkable how closely the life of a brand follows the pattern of a human life. The brand is born often through a period of intense struggle. From an early age it demands constant care and nurturing. With the right care it grows quickly, and starts to build and strengthen its personality. A brand soon reaches an age where much greater help is needed to move to a new level of maturity. After that it might stay at the same level or, with a huge and consistent effort, reach the point where its aspirations become much greater. The brand might desire international growth; it might seek to join with others as part of an acquisition or decide to build a family of brands.
At some point in its life cycle a brand will falter and will need to refocus its efforts—what should it be, what should it achieve, how does it grow further, how does it fit with the aspirations of its founder or its corporate objectives?
Familiar to all in marketing, this sequence of events is called the Product Life Cycle—the journey a brand or product follows through a sequence of stages from introduction to growth, maturity, and decline. An understanding of where the brand is in this cycle changes the approach to how the brand is managed.
The Red Tree’s long experience of working in the UK and international markets with many brands—some in the introduction stage, others in growth or maturity and others in decline—has made us realize that a brand needs to be super fit to face the challenges that lie ahead no matter where the brand might be in its life cycle. We call it getting a brand RaceFit. The analogy to an individual is like hiring a fitness coach to build strength or enlisting specialist help to develop peak fitness for a marathon.
After many years of intuitively using its principles, we have developed RaceFit as a self-diagnostic tool or consultant-led analysis that gives a 360-degree review covering the essential building blocks behind any beauty brand. And just as with a fitness test, we run through a series of areas—7 in total—each with its own questions that dig deep into a brand’s state of health.
For example, we check on a brand’s personality, evaluating the clarity of its values and its point of difference. We assess how clearly the brand’s target market is understood and if there is an awareness of what influences purchasing behavior. Like people, a brand’s first impressions are vital. We question what effort has been placed on developing a strong visual identity, and in our RaceFit analysis we ask how the brand’s personality is expressed through social media and at point of sale.
RaceFit dives into understanding the brand’s business plan and whether its aims and objectives are clear. At some point in a brand’s life cycle it is likely that investment will be needed. When and how much needs to be raised? Is there an understanding of how that investment will be used?
What part will new product development play in helping the brand and what help is needed to bring this to life? Are logistics optimized and is there clarity on the cost of goods?
We question the brand’s marketing effort, its communications strategy, and its retail objectives. We ask if there is a recognized need to drive increased website traffic and improve conversion to purchase. In the analysis, we check that all areas of the marketing mix are optimized and advise what to do if they are not.
We ask if help is needed on launching and growing the brand in international markets. How will each market be handled and who will manage and drive forward the brand’s growth?
There are many more questions to answer including short-term objectives and longer-term vision. As in preparing for a marathon, the longer the brand has to prepare and act, the more likely it is to achieve its objectives.
Once the RaceFit questionnaire is completed we provide a RaceFit report—a document bespoke to each brand, that identifies areas for improvement, provides advice, and shares extensive industry knowledge and expertise. All designed to make a brand stronger, fitter, and sharper to deal with the challenges that lie ahead.
Learn more on the RaceFit website.