CPG Product Lifecycle: The COMPOST Stage

Nov 07, 2022

After a plant reaches its full potential (and sometimes long before it can reach its potential), it goes through a natural cycle of decline.  The fruits are scarce, the leaves are starting to wilt, and the plant is not producing any new growth. The clear signals show that a change is coming.

Before you panic, consider that all successful brands that have been around for more than 3+ years have had to go through one or more compost stages to stay relevant with consumers. The compost stage is simply about using your existing resources – in the plant’s case the remaining nutrients, foliage, and other plant material – to help create something new. This doesn’t always mean selling the business or simply calling it quits (although sometimes it can). It could also mean a rebrand to bring the brand to a new audience. It may be reformulating the product or rationalizing the portfolio to increase operational efficiency.

For brands, some of the telltale signs that composting may be needed are: velocity is stagnant or declining, negative consumer feedback, increased competition stifling your growth, and macro trends showing your product is not as relevant to current consumers.

Composting a part of or an entire product/brand can be difficult. You spent a lot of time building it to where it was, and many stakeholders will inevitably be affected. It also comes with its own risks. But at the end of the day, when the signs that change is needed are clear, it is important to act. You can either resist the changes (and let nature and the market do it for you) or support your brand as it goes through the process of creating something new.

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