Lessons from Sugar Pops Cereal for Marketing Building Products


sugar pops

Future proof your building products with a diagnostic audit.

For more than sixty years Sugar Pops cereal has remained a favorite brand and morning tradition for kids across America.

Sugar Pops is a big breakfast brand, who in spite of changing public opinion and consumer buying patterns (controversy over added-sugar) and government regulations (changing nutritional guidelines) has held steady in the Breakfast Cereal market for more than six decades. Like Sugar Pops, Building Product Manufacturers are faced with changing consumer opinions (savvy buyers who research purchase options online) and government regulations (the greening of codes).

What can building product manufacturers learn from the history of Sugar Pops?

We know Sugar Pops remained a strong brand with strong positioning even in the face of controversy. They did this by listening to what was important to their buyers, adapt-ing to market changes and creating timely messaging. What’s really interesting is that they didn’t make any significant changes to their product during these sixty plus years, they instead changed their brand persona. They took a comprehensive look at what their product delivered and connected what they offered with what the buyers wanted from decade to decade. For instance, in the 1950’s it was sugar and fun, the 1970’s corn and nutrition.  In this current decade, when consumers focus on healthy breakfast, will “Pops” survive without product changes?

Sugar Pops Brand Timeline

Product Launch: 1951 – Cereal is key to children’s health. Children associate breakfast cereal with fun and characters like Woody Woodpecker.

Controversy: 1970 – Sugar is Bad. Congress orders tests that prove eating cardboard cereal boxes is healthier than eating sugary cereal. Studies connect sugar with hyperactivity in children.

Brand Change:

  • 1978 – “Sugar Pops” is renamed “Sugar Corn Pops”
  • 1986 – “Sugar Corn Pops” is renamed “Corn Pops”
  • 2006 – “Corn Pops” is renamed “Pops”

Controversy: 2011 – Corn Refiners Association launches advertising campaign geared at rebranding High Fructose Corn Syrup as Corn Sugar.

Crisis: 2012 – Sugar Pops is named “Ten Brands That Will Disappear in 2012” (24/7 Wall St.)

Future: Questionable. Sales continue to decline.

How do Sugar Pops relate to Building Product Marketing today?

Like Sugar Pops, Building Product Manufacturers are faced with changing consumer opinions and government regulations. We learned from Sugar Pops that small changes can yield big results and brand longevity. The good news for building product manufacturers is you may not need to retool or reformulate your product on a grand scale to differentiate your brand and increase market share. To be future-proof requires a bigger commitment to change.

According to Warren Buffett, “Change is inevitable and is often a catalyst for innovation…” Forecast and budget for decades to come. Be consistent and loyal to your brand promises.

Take a closer look at what you already have

Chances are there’s something about your product that’s important and marketable to your audience. Something that you’ve not yet discovered or that you already know but that you’re not talking about or branding. Invest the time to audit your product from top to bottom and compare it to what’s trending for your customer.

How to Conduct a Diagnostic Audit for Building Products Manufacturers

Follow the audit checklist below and see how your products measure up. By following this, you’ll make it easy for buyers to understand how you’re product measures up, how they’re different from your competitors and what the long and short term benefit is for them.

  • Always do the math for your buyer.
  • Be sure they understand their cost beyond the shelf price, that they understand the lifecycle cost.
  • Test your product against build-ing codes relevant to your sales territory.
  • Look for credits that can offset product costs and benefit your buyers through out your buying channels.
  • Take stock of how green your products and company are. Are there environmental benefits? Is your product healthier and safer than your competitors?

When auditing your products, look for patterns that sync up with your demographic’s wants and needs. Be comprehensive, leave no stone unturned. Audit your brand, add up the plusses, address any minuses.

Audit Checklist

Compare and Connect these five categories:

  1. Cost: Does it last a long time? Is it energy efficient?
  2. Health: Is your product healthy?
  3. Eco: What are the environmental qualities?
  4. Code: Test, comply and talk about code approvals
  5. Credits: Tax, Energy, LEED

Audit in hand, now you’re armed and ready to differentiate your brand. Your next step is to start a conversation with your audience.

photo credit: dasjabbadas via photopin cc

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