I have recently developed a fondness for Tunnocks Caramel Wafers. Apparently, over 7,000,000 are eaten every week, which is 1 millionth eaten in my household alone… best with a cup of tea btw
Until now I have been purchasing these at my local store… but, whilst on the weekly shop, I also spotted them at Aldi this week… I also noticed the Aldi own brand.
This was of course not hard to miss, the packaging was the same colours, and pattern, just with the signature red and gold stripes leaning the other way.
This own-brand packaging was in fact so similar I wondered if agreements were made to produce both, in the same factory.
Customers could make side-by-side comparisons in Aldi, the original or (similar looking) cheaper version, and decide thinking they were getting choice, but in fact all revenue still returned to the manufacturer.
[and maybe this is just a conspiracy theory… but look at other own-brand and brand products too, they are there too.. lol]
Now, this is either marketing genius or provides an endless supply of (legal) disagreement… but putting this aside, it did point out the importance of branding in understanding a product for sale.
After all, I knew exactly what I where to buy based, not on an examination of the ingredients, but based on the colour and style of the packaging. This was something I recognized, and understood… my subconscious kicked in and I knew where to reach to get a similar product.
I was not fooled and still knew it was different from the original, but nevertheless had a look as it was familiar.
I was engaged, reading the label and then evaluating whether I should save the 20p or buy the original. (of course, I bought both – strictly for research purposes, to compare, you understand).
This now had me thinking about the importance of product branding and how should we consider this across our industry and business.
Why this matters?
Sales can, of course, be a challenge anywhere. This can be even more so when it is not a chocolate biscuit, but advice, expertise, research, or services, all of which may yet be delivered.
Of course, customers in the end get a bespoke product, delivering value, designed around their needs… and with a good experience repeat sales are much easier… but that first one can take time.
So can we make greater use of branding to define products, making these services easier to understand, select and consider buying?
Framing the context of a product in this way can drastically reduce the time needed to explain what it is and what it does. Customers are more easily engaged and quicker to the reading the label stage, looking at the features, and closer to deciding which to buy.
We already see this in some areas, broad-brush groupings, such as contact centres, software, and technology types, even data services already use this approach.
However, how can we take this further? What else can be productised, branded to make it easier to understand, recognize and compare?
In the end, I found the own brand biscuits were not quite the same.
Yes, the originals were 20p more expensive, but a better quality biscuit and worth the money… and through this experience I also realized that this is not the main reason I buy Tunnocks anyway either… it is in fact the wrapper.
My routine of eating the biscuit, scrunching the wrapper, and then peeling off the foil, to add to my ever-growing ball on my desk, was just not possible with a modern plastic foil-wrapped bar. Somehow I missed this more than the biscuit itself.
It just went to re-enforce further, you may think you are making a quality product for a good price… but take care as customers may be buying the packaging too!
Have a good rest of the week everyone.
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