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2 In 3 Consumers Purchasing More Generic Brands


Cost-cutting consumers are buying more generic branded product according to a Harris Poll conducted in June 2011. 67 percent of US adults have purchased more generic brands in the past six months to poll reports. That’s up 10 percent since February of 2011.

Consumers are changing their behavior on several levels to spend less. From brown bagging lunch, to fewer trips to the dry cleaners and extending time between haircuts…change is in the air.

There are two comments I have on this data.

First, these cut-backs have a ripple effect. Dry cleaners, diners, fast-food restaurants, salons are feeling the loss of revenue daily – and it’s killing them. The current economy is placing unbearable pressure on small businesses nationwide. Relief (an upswing in the economy) needs to happen soon, if not tomorrow.

Second, the concept of generic brands is a slap in the face of marketers and merchants. To me it means the “regular” brands have done nothing to distinguish themselves from any other brand. When the only message brand has is price – it’s a race to the bottom. Guess who’ll win that one. Generic.

Al Ries, published yesterday, “Discountitis, the Disease That’s Sweeping the Marketing Community“. This is a must-read for anyone involved in branding, marketing and selling. Ries’ point is that the only marketing message used today is discount. When discount is a brand’s message it has given up its uniqueness. What’s the difference between Delta, American and United in airline travel? Price. The distinction between Geico, Progressive and Allstate insurance products? Price.

Ries points to positioning as the cure to discountitis. I agree. It’s what I do for a living so I may be biased but a brand without positioning is a brand in the race to the bottom.

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