Blog | February 24, 2017

How Method, Talking Rain, Elmer’s and Jack Link’s Bridge the Distribution Divide

by Mike Waite in Digital Asset Management

Consumer products companies have built many of the world’s strongest, most valuable brands – Nike, Coca-Cola, GE, Budweiser. They rely on their brand strength to create preference at the point of sale – typically a retail environment they don’t control. To succeed there, these companies have to manage a complex web of agencies, brokers and distributors to market, promote and sell their goods.

It’s complicated, but consistency and flawless execution are critical. Brand strength, built through years of investment, can be weakened with any misstep. And as consumers increasingly expect seamless experiences across a staggering array of channels and platforms, there are so many ways things that can go wrong.

Leaders are retooling their promotional strategies and supply chains to more effectively meet consumer demands and create personalized, responsive experiences. Marketers that understand how to remain agile and reinvent the customer experience are the ones who will be positioned to win loyalty and market share.

Brands like Method, Jack Link’s, Elmer’s and Talking Rain are making changes to maintain agility and control consumer experiences across touchpoints even as their operations expand to new channels, categories and territories.

Scale to support fast growth.

Fast growth is a wonderful thing. But fast growth can wreak havoc on operations.

A consumer product can be a boutique specialty item one day, get picked up by a national chain the next day and then carried by the leading club store the day after that. Growth like that can change a company overnight. If your creative operations aren’t able to scale just as fast, you’re in trouble.

All those new retailers need support and materials for displays and promotions. And all the people serving those retailers – your brokers, sales team, merchandisers and more – need easy access to those materials.

Lots of consumer goods experiencing fast growth get overwhelmed. The tools they relied on – some combination of local servers, cloud storage, FTP sites and emails – just won’t cut it. Relying on email or FTP applications makes for a messy, slow way to get brand-approved assets to growing teams. Operations quickly become inefficient and error-prone if you don’t have a central hub for housing, accessing and distributing creative assets.

Method, the design-minded maker of green cleaning products, faced these challenges as one of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S. It moved quickly from selling four cleaning sprays in a single grocery store location to a vast array of cleaning products – from laundry detergent to granite cleaner – sold at heavyweight retailers like Target, Krogers and distributors abroad.

With its product lines and operations growing quickly (and internationally), Method’s collection of marketing assets skyrocketed from hundreds to thousands. It had been relying on a combination of file storage and email to share the latest brand-approved logos, photos, packaging images and corporate-identity materials. The result was chaos, wasted energy and an inability to control what assets went where.

Method solved its scalability problem by uniting teams and assets on a centralized, cloud-based platform for all things brand-related. It made it easy to organize, search and access up-to-date brand assets, no matter where people worked, without sacrificing the control that ensured the right teams had access to just the content relevant to them.

If your creative team is having trouble keeping up, here’s what Method learned:

  • Organize creative files in a cloud-based platform that’s scalable and accessible by distributed teams.
  • Make sure you provide self-service access that you control (e.g. access rights and permissions based on things like group or location).
  • Allow search within files and folders and by file type to simplify access.

Download Brand Management for the Modern Marketers to see what you can learn from Jack Link’s, Talking Rain and Elmer’s.

Read Guide