It is all about communities

  • Post category:blog

end of brand|Fortune magazine calls her The Nostradamus of Marketing: Faith Popcorn. This month her company BrainReserve predicts the end of brands. Brands need to demonstrate commitment to their users and they can earn that commitment by transparency and honesty. So many of the products say ‘new and improved’, but they only changed their boxes to smaller sizes. Brands have to become involved in communities. They have to exhibit an ethical and moral conscious in business practices and advertising.

The end of Brands
It’s The End Of Brands As We Know Them
by Faith Popcorn
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 our findings from our own “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.” Notably, of those who made the switch, 87% are satisfied with that purchase; 44% indicated “very satisfied.”
So, with all the talk about “passion brands”, “love marks” and the like, is what we’re seeing today the beginning of the true commoditization of Brands?  It’s my view that if we pursue the “same old…” it could well be.
What’s the alternative?  For me, these passions, the love that Brands need to cultivate today starts with a simple idea—a tangible demonstration of the Brand’s commitment to its users.
We asked Our our VOC, (voice of the Consumer), 24/7 dialogue with a panel of 100 representative American households created with I-tracks, a world leader in online qualitative research, what they thought.  We asked them to choose from an array of well known Brands, and gave them an opportunity to suggest any other Brands “which are truly committed to you.”  There was a stunningly low level of commitment they could articulate among the Brands I’d selected, and NO spontaneous mention of any other Brands that had managed to generate same.  Scary when you think that billions of dollars are committed to supporting these Brands.
So, we went a step further, and asked “what would a Brand need to do to earn your commitment?”    They obviously came back with rewarding customer loyalty and demonstrating a real drive to better customer service.  More interestingly there was a real and palpable yearning for the simple notions of “transparency”, “honesty”, and ways to transcend the transactional relationship, by building deeper roots into the community the Brand is intended to “serve”.  Again and again we heard some version of the chilling statement, “Why would I buy a 50 oz Tide for $20 when I could buy a house brand for $3.99?”
In their own words:
So many of the products that you buy now say “new and Improvedimproved” when the only thing new or improved is the new lower volume of package and perhaps the fact that they changed the box or container to a smaller size.
Become involved in the communityy.  Be honest and exhibit an ethical and moral conscious in its advertising and business practices.
It is our conviction that unless and until we go beyond trying to amplify what are really miniscule differences vs. competitors, and the allegedly “new and improved” versions (the consistency in negative response to these claims suggests consumers have cracked and rejected this code) we will continue to lose Brand Value.  We must recognize that Private label has already proven that the supposed “superiority” of name Brands is simply not seen by the consumer.
There is no such thing as build the brand and they will come.  The future marketplace requires a much different model.
And that’s what we are working on at Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve

Leave a Reply