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Robin Bartling: How Brands Can Thrive in South America

Incumbent brands can make three fundamental changes to adapt and win.


Robin Bartling: How Brands Can Thrive in South America

In order to access a more digitally connected consumer base, consumer products companies need to focus on growing household penetration. Robin Bartling, a partner in Bain's Consumer Products practice, shares three fundamental changes that incumbent brands can make to adapt and win.

Read the transcript below.

ROBIN BARTLING: In South American developing markets, many consumer products' companies are struggling to keep up with the fast-changing rules of the game. Consumers are increasingly more and more digitally connected, and they're willing to pay for convenience, so this drives on one side in the digital world, online sales. On the other side is the physical world, it drives ... expansion of retail formats in convenience stores and neighborhood stores.

At the same time, accelerated by the economic downturn, the cash-and-carry format has been gaining weight through its no-frills, low-price offers.

The unclear political and economic environment in countries such as Brazil has further increased the level of uncertainties for brands to invest. However, there's a huge opportunity for incumbent brands to adapt quickly and win. And this is by relentlessly focusing on growing household penetration.

So this requires three fundamental changes in our behaviors and in our mindset. First, companies need to aim for selling their products to more consumers, instead of trying to sell more frequently or more products to existing consumer base.

Second, companies need to focus on actual consumer behavior. That is what the penetration data is all about, instead of relying on claimed behaviors through surveys and studies.

Finally, companies need to break down the silos between marketing and sales, and integrate a holistic commercial strategy.


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