I used to gaze longingly at the Stihl kit in the garden centre. That's the pro's stuff, proper gear...proper money.
Of course, in the long run, I'd have been miles better off if I'd bought that 'proper gear' in the first place. Hindsight.
The problem was mine, but the cause was debatable. How determined was the local retailer to serve me the right choice? Usually, not very. They'd rarely put forward the value/cost argument in case it jeopardised the sale of something, anything...ANYTHING! All the brand's efforts to reach the top were so easily undone when it came to transacting, at the actual point of sale. If only there'd been a way of selling directly to customers and cutting out this troublesome part of the buyer's journey.
Ha ha! Hello Amazon...
So, everybody set out to reinforce their brand story online and start selling direct. (Well, not EVERYBODY). With a strong nod to its loyal network of specialist dealers, Stihl has consistently rejected online sales, citing safety and the need for specialist training of often-dangerous tools. It's possible that at the same time they immediately made their highly desirable products even more desirable, simply because you couldn't just HAVE them.
And, by empowering their network of dealers and retailers like this, they've also given them 'permission' to resist the easier, cheaper brand sale, and put forward the value story for buying the best.
But that's not the end of the story. Can this iconic brand bring its pro game to local-level engagement, on behalf of its network? I think it can.
To establish its credentials at the top of the tree (sorry!) Stihl has created a huge portfolio of materials that it deploys online. How To Videos / Thought Leadership Blogs / Strong social communities management. To make this all available to its local outlets to re-purpose (in a simple and easy-to-use way) might be its next step in continuing that joined-up brand journey for prospects.
A simple Marketing Asset Management portal, that can deliver digital, social and even traditional marketing materials for retailers to boost their own, local engagement (an area they'll often struggle with) will ensure its brand is even more noticeable, and noticeably consistent.