Fundamentals of Category Management: Negotiations & Win/Win Paradigm Shift

Negotiating.  Palms sweaty. Heart racing. Adrenaline pumping. Negotiation is like a competition. It’s YOU versus THEM. Who will score the knockout and be the victor!

However this need not be the case and many argue that a paradigm shift in business is required for sustained, mutually beneficial negotiations.

Usually the words ‘mutually beneficial’ are not used simultaneously with the word ‘negotiation’ but the best principle to use is a WIN/WIN approach. But before we proceed, recall there are several outcomes:
Win/Lose – I win/you lose
Lose/Win – I capitulate & give up/You win
Win/Win – both winners
Lose/Lose – Both losers
No Deal – We walk away from deal.

Win/Win is the highest level of personal effectiveness. It says, you realize that you need to ‘make a buck’ as does the other. For example, don’t be a bully and crush your Vendor today. You may have better leverage  (ie work for a giant retailer) and beat the vendor down in cost, but win/lose or lose/win is myopic.  
Sustained relationship building is maintained by understanding everyone needs to profit. In such a way, long term relationships are forged and trust is achieved. Trust…. often lost in today’s competitive market; it needs to make a comeback not a knockout.


Fundamentals of Brand MANAGEMENT

While your brand may resonate today with consumers, you may find tomorrow’s competition is forcing a change/upgrade. Examples of product changes:
– Reformulation/change in ingredients
– Price change
– Packaging Change (graphics/type of packaging material)
– Upgraded applications

The secret however to continued growth and consumer acceptance is NEVER to do two or more major changes.  Prioritize and keep it to ONE strategic change at a time and patiently execute.

He that can have patience can have what he will.
Benjamin Franklin

It is basic consumer behaviour. Consumers will not relate to a product/brand that makes too many immediate changes. Avoid Brand Shock!

A similar term used in Retail Merchandising is called Sticker Shock (drastic change in retail eg $0.99 to $2.99). Avoiding Sticker Shock is done via incrementally adjusting retails (over several weeks/months) so consumers don’t faint at the immediate change and switch products*. 

Likewise, protect your brand with steady, strategic changes.

*There are some situations where the market forces commodity products to make sudden retail changes (and all competition make the change as well) so this would be a moot point.

University of Toronto Mississauga Course – Fundamentals of Retail Merchandising & Marketing

UTM course details –

Course begins January 18th 2012.  Enroll now (above link).

Ideal for general interest in retail (marketers, HR, etc).  Focused for people with Brand/Category/Merchandising or Operational backgrounds/interests.

Course includes: Brand/Category/Operational topics over and above Merchandising/Marketing.  ALSO: Discussions on planograms/ACN Data analysis/Retail Ad Flyers/Executive Guest Speakers & much more.

No exams.  Team based assignment.

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