Addition By Subtraction
by DW Green — November 15, 2023
Can a successful retail brand appeal to everybody? Nope. No one brand can possibly have universal appeal. Since you can’t be everything to all people successfully, you must purposefully limit what you offer and to whom. When you are identifying your strategic initiatives, choices about what not to do (subtraction) are just as important as choices about what to do (addition). Your success depends on the trade-offs you are willing to make. Simply put, a trade-off means that more of one thing necessitates less of another. A supermarket can choose to offer more service departments, adding labor costs and higher retails, or it can choose not to, offering less service and lower retails, but it cannot do both without bearing major inefficiencies.
In a recent conversation with a high profile and successful Northwest retailer, I learned about their thoughtful and discriminating approach to creating their private label product line. The retailer understood that to be brand successful they needed to limit their retail brand product line to ensure the products themselves reflected the same brand benefits of the store brand itself. Only selecting items in product categories that could be distinguishable from national brand alternatives, in terms of the company’s undeniable reputation for quality, taste, and value. Consequently, their brand offering is small and grows slowly yet the store labeled products are very popular and reinforce the “reasons to believe” in the retailer.
Our design mantra represents our personal sequel to the addition by subtraction story. The design mantra at DW Green is Less Is Greater Than More. The “what’s not there”—the white space or empty space, makes the “what’s there”— stand out, more dominant and more meaningful.
Filed Under: DW's Blog