Like human beings even brands are mortal. Every brand’s life comes to an end. But this does not happen in a single day. Brands go through a life cycle experiencing different phases. The brand managers keep a track of brand’s performance and when they predict a decline in brand’s sales or when there is an actual decline in brand’s sales, the brand managers take actions to assist the brand’s decline in the most profitable way. It is unwise to stuck investments to the brands which are not performing well. There are several options available to the brand managers for this purpose. Brand harvesting is one such option used by the brand managers when a brand reaches the phase of decline.
The basic objective behind adopting the brand harvesting strategy is usually to free up cash so that the same can be used for undertaking new opportunities available in the market. Brand harvesting involves reducing the marketing investment on the declining brand to zero or to a very minimal level; however maintaining the sales at the same level. This strategy thus results into a substantial increase in the company’s current cash flow. The brand is left to the purchase by loyal customers to sustain it for as long as possible. Brand harvesting usually precedes the brand’s total elimination.
Brand harvesting strategy is very difficult as it requires execution without letting the customers, competitors and even employees know what is happening. It is usually executed slowly and expenditure is gradually reduced over the particular brand. Before opting for brand harvesting strategy, the brand managers must confirm that reduced investments and expenses on the brand would not lead to a proportionate reduction in brand’s sales. It is also important to ensure that the firm’s overall business will be able to survive even without this brand.
Brand harvesting is opted when the industry to which that particular brand belongs is in mature or decline stage and it has become too costly to maintain the brand. Brand harvesting is a crucial decision and it should be taken with great caution. Even after finalizing such decision, the brand managers need to communicate it very effectively. It is because the decision of brand harvesting demotivates the employees. It also affects the attitude of customers towards the company. Moreover, such a decision provides the competitors with an opportunity to promote their brand as a replacement for the declining brand.
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