Book Review: FMCG: The Power of Fast-Moving Consumer Goods

FMCGThis book will save students a lot of time. FMCG: The Power of Fast-Moving Consumer Goods by Greg Thain and John Bradley tells the histories of nearly 30 FMCG companies. I originally used the word stories, but these are old, established companies and we discover their origins. The recent developments section goes back to 2004; it’s history.

FMCG’s first 22 chapters tell the histories of 18 companies. Their founding, their struggles, their developments through to now. Companies are all the standard large companies in supermarket: Coca-Cola, Kraft, Procter & Gamble, etc. These histories makeup the majority of the book, and to be honest, I read only the first on Coca-Cola. At 843 pages in the Apple iBook version, this is a very long reference book.

How will students save time with FMCG?

It will save them time because the histories do their case study research for them. What were the major turning points that lead to the current situation? Who were the players? What was the revenue? FMCG answers all those questions in the one book.

What about the other 20% of FMCG?

The emerging markets chapter gives the stories of FMCG companies operating solely outside the US. China, Mexico, Hong Kong (pre-PRC take back), Brazil. The marketing chapter looks at how these companies have adopted digital marketing, except the authors declare it Modern Marketing, as a proper noun. From a digital marketer’s perspective, there’s nothing new, but I live in a world that considers 12 months old to be nearing its expiry date.

Who is FMCG for?

As previously mentioned, students. We can add academics and people researching the players in the industry. The histories are very detailed and extensive. I would have danced in the stacks of RMIT’s library if I found this while researching my grad school case studies. Probably would have done cartwheels if I found it during my undergrad, but I wasn’t a diligent enough student then. Shh, story for another day.

Personally, I would have loved a bit more analysis in FMCG. I’m curious to know the impact of buying local and shop small on the industry. Some companies have created brands that look small, but I wonder if the entire industry is shrinking. I’m also interested to know how much the retailers are impacting these companies. Are the brand extensions being developed because they’re safe, and supermarkets like safe? Perhaps that can be a future book for them.

My copy was courtesy of the authors. It’s the usual rules; they share their book with me, and I write my honest thoughts.

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