Consumer Brand Case Study

Overview:

Strategic long-term growth plan for leading consumer brand in the golf industry.

Problem:

A private equity group with an ownership stake in The Jack Nicklaus Companies called on Southern Growth Studio to create a sustainable growth strategy. The Jack Nicklaus Company had reached a growth plateau. The brand had become marginalized in a highly competitive domestic market, and the firm did not have a coherent international market strategy. To gain a competitive advantage and contemplate the company’s long-term viability, The Jack Nicklaus Company needed a domestic and emerging market strategy to achieve greater market  share.

Approach:

The Studio began by digging deep to better understand the brand, the consumer, and the markets where the company participates. Through primary research, channel checks, and detailed ethnographic analysis, the Studio uncovered several key challenges faced by the  company:

  • Brand Dislocation: A disconnect existed in the United States between the consumer’s perception of the professional golfer and the products sold under his name in the The golfer himself has a very definite brand; he is recognized the world over as a gentleman-champion that stands for excellence, yet the company product brands were participating in the value market segment.
  • Saturation: The American consumer was confused by over exposure of the brand through line extensions that were incongruent with their perception of the golfer and their own Lower-end distribution channels such as Costco had furthered this disconnect and devalued the brand.
  • No international strategy: International markets represented organic growth and growth in U.S. golf was static. An international strategy was critical, especially within the Asian luxury market where substantial growth was
  • Not leveraging strengths: The course design division of the company was a world However, the success of this business unit was tied directly to the golfer himself and not a result of a dominant design company brand. Studio analysis revealed that creating a powerful merchandise brand that is strongly linked to the course design business and rooted in a particular lifestyle would drive loyal consumers to become the buyers that developers were seeking.

Recommendation:

The Studio presented a growth strategy plan to re-position The Jack Nicklaus Companies as an international aspirational lifestyle brand targeting the globally ubiquitous “man’s man.” The strategy required the company to target only the high-end of the market, focusing on a lifestyle of success in family, business and on the golf course.

With the renewed positioning, several areas of the sales and marketing efforts were refocused to increase revenue:

  • New Product Mix: Revised product mix through the elimination of several unprofitable brands, line extensions and
  • New Channels: Developed a new business development strategy to target product and endorsement partners that were aligned with the Nicklaus The Studio built a model to assess and rank the top 100 brands domestically and internationally according to their strategic relevance.
  • Improved segmentation: Leveraging data from our survey and ethnography work, the Studio provided clear segmentation across demographic and geographic
  • Market Prioritization: Identify markets with high ROI potential to inform resource allocation

Results:

The new strategy and brand positioning enabled The Jack Nicklaus Companies to increase interest from key endorsement partners which ultimately led to the launch of a new product line and greater traction in China. Surveys and ethnographic information clarified several market segments among The Jack Nicklaus customer base, notably the avid outdoors enthusiast. By identifying this hidden segment, the business development team was able to identify several high margin branding opportunities in the outdoor industry. In 2012 the strategy culminated in the launch of The Jack Nicklaus Outdoor Kitchen set, leveraging the iconic Sub-Zero and Wolf brands.