Multi-brand strategy to overcome Brazil's crisis

The arm of the Linde forklift truck takes hold of the white sack's handle. It raises the heavy load and positions it with pinpoint accuracy above a large metal funnel. The operator presses a single control and more than a tonne of sweet-smelling sugar whooshes down the funnel. Not far away, plastic bottles are rattling through the washing process before being filled, labelled and sealed by machinery. ‘Guaraná Mineiro’ lemonade is a household name is Brazil. You always see the green glass bottles at children’s birthday parties and in cafés that serve sandwiches and pastries. For the Brazilian beverage maker, Refrigerantes do Triângulo, based in Minas Gerais, it is the sugar that makes all the difference. The company uses real sugar to sweeten its lemonade and cola rather than replacing some of the sugar content with cheaper sweeteners, as many of its competitors do.

Nearly 200,000 litres of sparking water, cola and beer leave the factory in the city of Uberlândia every day. The agile STILL trucks load the containers onto waiting trucks. Sales manager Zé Arnaldo da Silva explains: “We are working under extreme conditions. Production runs 24 hours a day and the engines can never cool down. We had 11 Linde trucks in operation but there was no local after-sales support and our vehicles regularly broke down due to lack of maintenance.” Now, da Silva is working with Linde and STILL and receives support for both brands through the local dealer, Moviminas.

“Finally, we have spare parts and after-sales with no waiting times,” he says happily.

"I now have a wider choice of products from the same supplier"

Fabio Pedrão

Founder, Retrak, offering rentals from Linde MH and STILL

To address Brazil's economic crisis, KION Latin America is following an unwavering strategy, which focuses on a multi-brand approach. Since April 2016, the Linde and STILL brands have been marketed together in the country. “Our revenue fell by almost 80 percent in just three years so we had to change something to survive,” admits Frank Bender, CEO for KION Latin America. Within 12 weeks, he and his team set up a new sales structure, which sees the Barueri and São Bernardo do Campo sites combined under the "GoDirect" name. There was so much interest in the KION stand at the engineering expo in São Paulo that you would think Brazil was no longer in the midst of an economic crisis. Trucks from Linde and STILL were on display side-by-side.

“Combining the two was a wise decision,” notes José Bordas, a dealer from Chile. “I now have a wider choice of products from the same supplier.” Fabio Pedrão, founder and manager of Retrak, which now offers rentals from both brands, adds,“The two cater to different market segments.” and Kareen Ratton, a business development manager at KION Latin America, says,“Linde and STILL continue to be two distinct product brands with their own brochures and websites.”

"Linde MH and STILL continue to be two distinct product brands with their own brochures and websites."

Kareen Ratton

Business Development Manager, KION Latin America

Paulo Cabbia is the proprietor of Moviminas in Uberlândia, which provides customer support to the beverage manufacturer Triângulo. He had just begun building a new office and workshop when he received word of the new strategy. “ To begin with, the changes actually meant additional costs,” he explains, adding, “Instead of a basic exterior, we built an elegant glass facade and the concrete floor we had planned was replaced by a bright blue epoxy floor so that we could showcase the premium Linde brand in an appropriate way.” Prior to these changes, Moviminas had sold and rented STILL trucks and was one of the country's largest dealers. Since April, Cabbia has visited all the Linde customers in his geographic area, which is larger than Germany. “We knew some of them already since, on average, eight out of 20 Linde customers buy STILL vehicles as well. Just like Refrigerantes do Triângulo, they all now benefit from our excellent service department.”

For the KION Group, the new dual-brand approach has seen an increase in market share. “It’s quite simple,” explains Bender smiling. “Everyone dreams of having a Linde truck. But now we can offer STILL trucks to customers who can not afford the Linde brand instead of losing them to our competitors.”


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