Case Stories

When You’re Faced With a Standoff

11. When you're faced with a standoff

This story is true, but names and details have been changed to protect anonymity.

It was a beautiful morning in Manhattan when our team and the senior leadership of a venerable national brand came together to address their declining market share. As we went around the table with polite introductions, the tension in the air was thick. Shortly thereafter, the f-bombs started flying.

The company was losing share due to its market being saturated, so the sales team was insisting on cutting margins. That met with stiff resistance from corporate leaders who, as stewards of a premium brand, had no interest in becoming a cut-rate provider. It was a standoff, and we were right in the line of fire. We had a lot of work to do to earn the trust of both sides.

The first and most critical thing we knew we had to do was identify a strategy that would enable both sides to become aligned. Through significant research, it became apparent that the only way through was by repositioning the brand in such a way that it would no longer have to be better, only clearly different. Once both sides saw the potential of such a strategy, they came together to pursue it.

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