Meeting the needs of the Market Segment – Glad you didn’t get that wrong!

We know that appealing to a particular segment of the market can be cost effective particularly if we know that the product that we want to sell is used extensively by that segment of the market. Let us consider the situation where a supplier of a product to the market sees the need to upgrade the product and replace the existing product with a new product.

In this situation a lot of work has gone into getting the existing product into the market and cementing the brand into the market place for a number of years. It is possible that the supplier would want to upgrade the product to keep it fresh in the market, include new technology showing innovation and resourcefulness.

But what if they do all the work, make the change and get the change wrong!

untitled 4Recently we have seen Channel Nines -A Current Affair program and social media highlight the plight of Glad Australia and the recent changes that have been made to the good old glad wrap box. Glad Australia claims that they wanted to present a product to market which would deliver a better experience and better value, at no extra cost to the consumer. They also claim to have done considerable research and rigorous testing of the product before changing the product on the supermarket shelves; however the consumer backlash has been significant.

What did the customer want?  They wanted a product that was not going to contribute to their frustration when they were preparing school lunches, work lunches or cooking meals. They just wanted something that worked.

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The old design had been in place for some time and most people have grown up with that design in the kitchen, so it was probably not a design that was perfect but it was a design that they knew how to use.

Glad Australia, by their own admission carried out rigorous testing and research to come up with the new design. They also claim that more than 60% of those Australians, who participated in the research, preferred the improved product overall.

Now we don’t know the makeup or the size of the research group, however I would have thought that if 40% of them didn’t like it then it would most likely lead to some negativity in the market place.

What should Glad Australia do now?

This, by their own admission has cost them “hundreds of thousands of dollars”, it would appear that they will revert back to the original design in a couple of months time. They will most likely have lost considerable market share due to this decision as their competitors have a similar design to the old glad wrap box.

But does that mean that there will be no changes to the Glad Wrap box ever…..

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7 thoughts on “Meeting the needs of the Market Segment – Glad you didn’t get that wrong!

  1. I deffinetly think that companies that “upgrade” their product to “better” suit consumer needs are met with many frustrated customers. Most people in general are not comfortable with change and don’t think that a system should be changed if it’s working hence the phrase “why fix if it ain’t broke”
    Most companies allow a transitional phase where consumers have both products available for a period of time, in order to allow consumers to get used to the idea and physically see the difference themselves. Most often these changes are introduced step by step to avoid rejection by consumers and I think that’s the smart way of getting about a necessary change companies seem of their product, may it be to increase profit, rise above competitors or to genuine give a better customer satisfaction.

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  2. Companies will always try to upgrade their products and be innovative otherwise they will lose to their competitor. This can be either they do innovation to the product itself or just the change of the packaging. This change can increase or decrease their sales. The changes will follow what’s the trend in the market. Changing in people’s lifestyle can be one of the influence of the innovation.

    For example for food products, people have started to be more and more concerned with the sodium level in the food their consume – food companies will start to make products to achieve the customer wants, they will start to reformulate their product to achieve low sodium products and meeting the FSANZ requirement for low sodium products.

    Some customers might not like the changes of Glad Wrap packaging because they are used to the old packaging. However, 60% of the market likes the new packaging which is the majority of the market and I would say sooner or later the other 40% customers will start to like the new packaging and will get used to it. Moreover, quality of the product will give more influence to the market share. If the customers prefer Glad Wrap quality than the other brand, the changes of the packaging should not affect the market share and they will still buy Glad Wrap than other brand.

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  3. There is always some level of risk in trying to make changes to a successful product because the change may affect consumer’s perception of the product and ultimately sales of the product. The Glad Wrap incident shows how new products can still fail even after a lot of market research has been conducted.

    Perhaps they ought to have considered what their clients liked about the product before making changes. Knowing exactly which existing features of your product command consumer loyalty is very important before making any changes.

    Their research showed that 60% of those Australians, who participated in the research, preferred the improved (new) product overall, this result seems directly at odds with the amount of backlash the product received after its launch. This makes one wonder exactly how the research group was chosen, how large it was and whether its composition was a true representation of the target market?

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  4. I cannot see that Glad has many options but to try and diversify their offering because they must be under significant pressure from low cost generic brands. I think if I was an executive of that company I might of tried the new looks even if the market research was only 60% in favour. The niche for Glad is the premium consumer of lunch wraps and i would think that they would be in favour of the product evolving as they would expect more for the premium price that they are paying over the generic offering.

    I think Tanaka is right in that the literature does say that it is essential in segmenting, targeting and positioning to really try and understand the customer.

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  5. It’ll be interesting to see what Glad do in this situation, however it turns out that they are definitely not alone! There are plenty of other examples where companies get it wrong. Business Insider Australia has identified 14 Companies That Reversed Their Horrible Attempts at Rebranding and there are some big names amongst them.
    Coca-Cola, British Airways and Vegemite all get a mention in the article and like Glad it seems they’re changes were a bit out of touch with their customer’s perceptions and why they chose these brands.
    It seems to me like the challenge for marketers is to stay up to speed with who their customers are and what they want.
    Another interesting example is that of grocery shopping. Grocery shopping is a good example of a market that has changed significantly in recent years. However, according to Mortimore (2013) marketers have neglected to respond to their changing consumers. Mortimore (2013) highlights that only in the last few years have men been considered grocery shoppers and that women have historically been identified as the primary purchaser in most households. Mortimore (2013) identifies that while the number of male and female shoppers are pretty much equal these days, male shoppers have largely been ignored by marketers and suggests that what he calls “The Equitable Shopper” require significant attention. These are the people according to Mortimore (2013) that consider grocery shopping to be shared between males and females – they are characterised as a younger 25 – 30 year age group that tend to be highly educated, shop quickly and in the case of the females of the group had the greatest average spend per item of all shoppers. So as “The Equitable Shopper” emerges as a new identifiable segment, have grocery chains failed to respond to the emergency of a new segment and how should they stay on top of demographic, psychological or behavioural shifts in their consumers?
    It seems as though there is plenty of literature explaining what segmentation and targeting is as well as significant evidence available to support the benefits of segmentation and targeting. However it seems as though segmentation and targeting is discussed as more of a one off activity – once it’s done, it’s done. I have found little evidence of monitoring and review processes to ensure segmentation and targeting remains current and relevant in what is often an ever-changing environment.

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  6. I hadn’t realised Glad Wrap had changed their packaging design. A quick Google search later, an article in the Herald Sun (dated Jan 16 2015) had enlightened me!
    What interests me the most is that the change to the lid mounted cutter has been in place in the US for more than 10 years with what seems to be no issues. However when the change was introduced to the Australian market we apparently “bombarded the Herald Sun website to vent” (note there were 247 comments to the article and not all of them were negative) and “scores of scathing comments and demands for a return of the pack familiar to Australia for 49 years have emerged on social media”.
    I’m sure part of the research into the product change was the safety related to the serrated cutting blade. I know I’ve been left with cuts after grabbing the box the wrong way so what happens if a child is cut? I think the brand of Glad Wrap would be damaged more with a photo of a young child in bandages than a few comments on social media.
    So I wonder how much of this is due to people resisting change rather than a design fault? Or was it that Glad Wrap failed in its marketing / selling of the new design? I see a YouTube video in their future….

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  7. As a contrast to this particular blog people should also read the blog “Engineered for Magic, Everyday” which describes the success of Porsche’s decision to broaden it’s Target Market and change it’s brand to increase sales back in the 1990’s. It demonstrates what can happen if you get it right.

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