Wake-up call for brands

Articles
January 07, 2011

Wake-up call for brands

What else can brands do to strengthen their resistance to private label share encroachment? It’s a timely question with many brands fading and being acquired for fractions of their earlier value, as Fortune Magazine points out in a recent story. If a related trend toward private label consolidation continues, retailers could streamline their supplier base and become more efficient at producing their own brands of goods. This could lead to even sharper price gaps between name brands and PL at the shelf, and pose a persistent share threat as long as people still want to save and embrace these alternative choices, believes The Lempert Report. Fortunately for brands, today’s era of social media make it easier for brands to conduct their own direct dialogue with consumers and shoppers. This could be especially effective at protecting share, we believe, if brands keep messages of consumer health and product innovation a regular part of the conversation. Savvy use of Facebook and Twitter can give even small enterprises a huge presence. Think of this as an efficient yet loud version of winning strategies from not so long ago. Vitamin Water built buzz with squads of samplers on street corners. Red Bull sent young, fit, attractive women into bars, sporting events, college campuses, gyms and other popular venues to pass out the beverage and build trial among target users.

What else can brands do to strengthen their resistance to private label share encroachment?

It’s a timely question with many brands fading and being acquired for fractions of their earlier value, as Fortune Magazine points out in a recent story. If a related trend toward private label consolidation continues, retailers could streamline their supplier base and become more efficient at producing their own brands of goods. This could lead to even sharper price gaps between name brands and PL at the shelf, and pose a persistent share threat as long as people still want to save and embrace these alternative choices, believes The Lempert Report.

Fortunately for brands, today’s era of social media make it easier for brands to conduct their own direct dialogue with consumers and shoppers. This could be especially effective at protecting share, we believe, if brands keep messages of consumer health and product innovation a regular part of the conversation.  Savvy use of Facebook and Twitter can give even small enterprises a huge presence. 

Think of this as an efficient yet loud version of winning strategies from not so long ago. Vitamin Water built buzz with squads of samplers on street corners. Red Bull sent young, fit, attractive women into bars, sporting events, college campuses, gyms and other popular venues to pass out the beverage and build trial among target users.

In 2010, Procter & Gamble distributed The Art of Shaving samples to travelers at the American Airlines Admirals Club. In the same vein, makers of denture creams could sample at assisted living facilities, and sunscreen manufacturers could sample at summertime outdoor events, we suggest.

These approaches differ from the old P&G model of mailing out free samples of quality products to households across America, and winding up with majority market shares. Today, it’s really about connecting with targeted audiences in ways they’ll positively associate with the brand. The sooner brands put consumer lifestyles into their marketing mix in this way, the more relevant they’ll be to these audiences.