A shift in business strategy required a shift in brand strategy

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company is a U.S.-based multinational corporation headquartered in Marysville, Ohio. The company manufactures and sells consumer lawn, garden, and pest control products. The company had recently embraced a new strategic direction that removed the silos that existed between two of its primary businesses—fertilizer and grass seed—in favor of a “total lawn care” approach. Specifically, Scotts was seeking to increase the sale of grass seed products among consumers who were purchasing only fertilizer (i.e., cross-sell). This shift in strategic direction prompted Scotts to reevaluate its brand portfolio and brand architecture, which had evolved over the years to serve the two businesses independently.

FullSurge was hired to help Scotts create a Market Map for the total lawn care category—one that was more consumer-centric than the company’s traditional internal and retailer orientation. With a new Market Map identified, Scotts tasked FullSurge with “populating” it with an optimal set of product brands. Finally, Scotts was seeking guidelines for determining how future new product introductions should be branded in a manner consistent with the new brand portfolio strategy and architecture.

Developing a market framework and mapping the brands

Scotts had a wealth of data and insights on consumer attitudes and behaviors, as well as marketplace dynamics. As such, FullSurge developed a project approach that leveraged the company’s existing knowledge base and did not require fielding new primary research. The team began by reviewing existing market research, strategy documents, competitive intel, and existing marketing collateral. Additionally, we conducted a select set of executive-level, cross-functional interviews within Scotts Miracle-Gro to understand internal perspectives and supplement the existing knowledge base. We then combined this learning with competitive precedents and best practices in brand architecture to develop hypotheses for a new Market Map.

With hypotheses and strategic alternatives in place, FullSurge facilitated four iterative working sessions with the Scotts core team. In the first two working sessions, we reviewed, discussed, and debated Market Map alternatives relative to predetermined evaluation criteria, and ultimately chose the one we collectively believed to be best. The following two working sessions focused on placing the company’s product brands on the Market Map. This process included determining: 1) the strategic role for each brand, 2) the scope of each brand relative to consumer segments, product categories, and customer channels, and 3) the optimal relationship between brands within the portfolio.

The key to optimizing the portfolio was to develop a sub-branding strategy that would enable the company to better leverage the incredible strength of the Scotts master brand across distinct but related product categories.
Implementing the solution and preparing for the future

The new brand portfolio and architecture recommendations dramatically reduced the number of product brands required to serve the target consumer segments and product categories. Embraced by the organization at large, the strategy resulted in immediate changes to the existing product lineup. Importantly, it will also inform future go-to-market and brand-building efforts, including two new product introductions that are currently in the innovation pipeline.


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