What’s In A Name Brand?

How difficult would it be for me to get you to change the brands you use in a number of household categories?


(Photo credit: coolmikeol)

Would it be hard for me to get you to drop a national or name brand in favor of a store brand?  You know what I mean – Market Pantry (Target), Great Value (Walmart), and Kirkland Signature (Costco) are all brands with which you might be familiar.  They’re generally less expensive although not always – Trader Joe’s and 365 Organic (Whole Foods) are pretty pricey.  The quality is generally very good – as good or better, according to this piece from Consumer Reports.

Why do I bring this up (and it isn’t even Foodie Friday!)?  Because a lot of effort and money goes into branding, mostly spent by the national brands, one would think that there is some sort of clear distinction in consumers’ minds between quality, cost, and the value of those brands.  Not so much:

While more than half of shoppers (54 percent) named quality as their top priority when shopping for everyday products, less than a third said that name brands are better quality or more reliable than private label. However, 56 percent of shoppers have the perception that name brand packaging is more attractive than private label.

That’s from a study conducted by The Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research.  They also found that:

  • Only 29 percent of the survey’s respondents feel strongly that national brands are of better quality, down from 36 percent last year and 43 percent in 2010
  • When asked what types of private label household goods shoppers are okay buying, 66 percent of respondents listed over-the-counter medicine at the top of the list with milk as a close second with 61 percent
  • The least purchased private label category in the study is pet food, with only 18 percent of shoppers saying they would be okay purchasing this as private label
  • Millennials (18-24) are 13 percent more likely than the general population to be increasing their private label brand purchases. Shoppers aged 65 and older are 33 percent more likely to be upping their private label purchases.

It’s way too easy to write this off as a manifestation of the economic times.  Higher prices no longer mean better quality nor does having a national brand name.  It will be interesting to watch how the national brands handle this.  Coupons can reduce the pricing differential but that doesn’t immediately change the preferences of a consumer who now has seen that there isn’t a difference in quality.  National brands can probably do a better job of consumer engagement as well as in partnering with other national brands.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Are you using more store brands?  How can a national brand win you back?

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