I’m not the branding guy at CMG, which may account for my puzzlement. Nonetheless: I had a conservation the other day the gist of which was that major manufacturers (DeWalt, John Deere, etc.) are 1) selling different models to Home Depot than are available through their traditional dealers (no surprise there), 2) these big box-specific models — which have the manufacturers’ brand name on them — are of lesser quality than their their traditional dealer network’s models (mild surprise here), and 3) the after-sales support and parts availability of these branded models is really poor (much surprise here).
Now I realize that margins are thinner when you sell to Home Depot compared to when you sell to your traditional channel, and something’s got to give. But how does this practice (particularly elements 2 and 3 above) NOT destroy these manufacturers’ brand equity? I can think of three explanations.
1) They are in fact destroying their brand equity because they failed to completely think this through.
2) They are pursuing short-term profits at the expense of brand equity.
3) Their analysis reveals to them that selling shoddy products to big box-class customers (homeowners rather than contractors or professionals in this case) has no effect on their brand equity, possibly because most homeowners don’t use the products hard enough to break them very often.
Anyone have better insight?