Case Study – 1999 Delta Faucet Challenge.
Brand tracking studies along with sales figures showed continued decline in both
Delta Faucet perceived brand leadership and market share. Its market position was
high quality and longevity with innovation focused on interior workings. Delta
believed that its primary target was the plumber and the secondary target the male
head of household – both with the same interior quality focus.
Meanwhile Moen (positioned for innovative form/function + longevity) and Kohler
(positioned for artistic design) were gaining share and leadership status in the eyes of
their primary target, consumers.
At that time Delta had a collection of faucet brands with overlapping good-better-best
product and channel strategies: Delta, Delta Select, American, Peerless, and a
recently acquired Scandinavian brand. Delta needed to understand the changing
industry to reclaim dominance as well as strategically reposition its brands.
• Competitive brand, product, channel, retailer, and communication reviews
• Bathroom and kitchen design, functionality and usage trend studies
• Store intercepts, national focus groups (consumers and plumbers), and a
comprehensive consumer segmentation study
The home was changing - especially around the bath and kitchen. Spa-like
sanctuaries and gourmet cooking environments were rapidly trending mainstream.
With water being critical features to both, faucets were elevated from water source to
stylish focal point and appliance.
Innovation around quality and longevity had become the cost of entry and the
plumber as the decision maker became passé. Consumers were now insisting on
exterior design and performance innovation for a brand to be today’s “leader”. Five
consumer segments emerged from the research with three high volume and profitable
segments prioritizing beautiful design/exterior performance. Delta was missing this
target with product and communications – being deemed as having good interior
quality but very boring and outdated where it mattered.
Delta had not been getting the consumer right– the faucet is not the plumber’s call or
the husband’s sole decision anymore. Women were the key decision makers,
purchasers and drivers for relevant innovation. Delta learned the hard way that it had
been engineering for plumbers while Moen and Kohler stole share by innovating for
Consumer-inspired innovation began immediately. Folksy commercials and print were
replaced by contemporary usage/hero shots. Tagline evolved from “The Faucet” to
“Beautifully Engineered” during innovation development and then transitioned to
current innovation focus, “See what we can do”
Delta sister brands were shed and/or repositioned to cover the most common and
lucrative consumer segments. Segment algorithms were also developed for concept
and communication testing.