Erin Lash: Much angst across the consumer products landscape has centered on the ability of manufacturers to reignite the stagnant top-line performance that has plagued a broad swath of industry firms, and this was a main topic at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in February. While we’ve been encouraged that rhetoric by management teams across the sector has pivoted of late from an outsize focus on the importance of cost-cutting to one more centered on bolstered brand investments to drive profitable and sustainable gains, the proof is in the pudding.
In our view, the challenge hasn’t merely resulted from the level of spend though, but rather extends to include the speed and agility at which established manufacturers are bringing value-added innovation to market. More specifically, it has historically taken anywhere from 18-24 months for leading brands to get a product from concept to shelf but smaller, niche startups have proven much more nimble in responding to evolving consumer trends. We posit that efforts to empower local leaders to a greater extent and employ “test and learn” launches (starting small, incorporating learnings, and rolling out on a broader scale) are a few interesting approaches to combating these headwinds.
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Erin Lash does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.