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Are Brands Dead for Good?

November 5, 2009Sparxoo


By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer

“Brands are dead!” says marketing guru, Faith Popcorn. Consumers are asking themselves, “Why would I buy a 50 oz Tide for $20 when I could buy a house brand for $3.99?” But she is not the only one declaring a fateful decline of brands. Brand values are down across the board, according to a new study by Interbrand. When budgets are tight, are consumers thinking about brands or price? Studies show consumers tend to look at store shelves, not the products on them.

Though name brands might be taking a hit today, what happens when we emerge from the recession and we have more disposable income? We’ll hand over the debate to our three industry commentators: Ana the Analyst, Creo the Creative and Connie the Consumer.

Will brands be the titans in 2015 that they were in the 1990s:

Ana: Marketing guru, Faith Popcorn, doesn’t seem to think so. A new study by Catalina Marketing and the CMO Council indicates that 52% of consumers who were highly loyal to certain packaged goods brands in 2007 became “markedly less so last year.” This is consistent with Faith Popcorn’s findings from the “Culture of the Recession” Study, which indicated that 48% had made a “conscious decision to switch from a brand name product to a store brand/private label product.”

Connie: Until recently, I did buy name-brand packaged goods. Everything from Tide to Coca-Cola was in my shopping cart. As money has been tight, it’s been difficult to maintain the shopping habits I had accustomed myself to. Since I’ve made the transition to more private label purchases, I haven’t notices an incredible difference. Though I must stay, RC Cola has much more flavor than their competition. Other than that, it’s just slight adjustments here and there. After we emerge from the downturn, I don’t think I’m going to go back to 100% name brands. I like saving an extra few bucks.

Creo: Let me ask you Connie, how did it feel to buy name brand?

Connie: Good, actually.

Creo: Ah ha! You had an emotional connection to the brand. It is those brands that bridge the gap between just laundry soap to a feeling of freshness and comfort. Through creative wit, marketers and advertisers can still create the connection between consumer and brand. Beyond creative wit, marketers are increasingly taking a different approach online. Creative wit is only part of their digital strategy. Consider Trendsta. They are a social influencer marketing agency that leverages the large networks of social influencers to promote products and services.

Ana: Wait, wait Creo. Didn’t you hear Connie say she doesn’t buy name brand anymore? She’s thinking more about her bank balance than how she feels about Tide. Right now, we are in a time ruled by numbers.

Creo: Right now. Sounds a little short-sighted if you ask me. Brands are still competing for your attention and it is those brand identities consumers can relate to most that will win-out in the end. We are going to emerge from these challenging times eventually. Think numbers Ana: consumers will have more money to spend which means name brands. I’m not saying private labels will not have their place in a post-recession environment, but brand values will certainly increase.

Connie: Honestly, I’m just looking in the short-term now. I really cannot say what will happen in the long-term. I’m just trying to get to the next day–not thinking about whether I’ll buy Tide in a year from now.

Image by IVAN VICENCIO from Stock.Xchng