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From the remaining gray matter of Jim Huebner

YOU ASKED FOR IT

May 30, 2014 AMAZON, TWITTER, VALUABLE BRANDS BRAND OBSERVATIONS OF THE DAY From my random collection of info sources, here are some highlights related to the brands of our times...

How do you get a sweet little 80-year-old lady to say a four-letter word? Get another sweet little 80-year-old lady to yell “BINGO!” —Unknown

• Forrester Research came out with a report recently that showed “webrooming” was more widespread than originally thought. (Webrooming is when you search for a product online and then go to the store to purchase it.) They said Courtesy of CSMonitor.com approximately 70% of folks between 18-48 shopped and purchased this way. Too bad for Amazon, but frankly—considering that online sales only make up 7% of all retail sales—I’m surprised it’s only 70%! • Speaking of Amazon...they’re now helping Twitter move a little closer to social commerce. Twitter users can add products to their Amazon shopping cart in three easy steps: 1) Connect their Amazon and Twitter accounts. 2) Watch for tweets containing an Amazon link. 3) Reply to tweets and add #AmazonCart • BrandChannel ranks the most valuable brands in the U.S.— here are the top 10 currently... 1) Apple...$105B 2) Google...$69B 3) Microsoft...$63B 4) Verizon...$53B 5) GE...$53B 6) AT&T...$45B 7) Amazon.com...$45B 8) Walmart...$45B 9) IBM...$42B 10) Coca-Cola...$34B

From my “Photos of Irony” file

Brought to you by popular demand of a client, my mom, and some folks I met at a church potluck


...and on its way to the HuebnerPetersen blog...!

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Is it REALLY all about price? An article on the Daily Dog caught my eye recently. The headline said...

“America’s Household Brands Are Rapidly Losing Ground to Store Brands—and Consumers Have “No Regrets” Dropping them as 9 in 10 Stick to Store Brands, Deloitte Study Finds.” It went on to say the Deloitte’s American Pantry Study looked at more than 375 brands across 30 product categories, and basically found that consumers are becoming more “resourceful” and brand loyalty is waning. They attribute the change primarily to tighter household budgets. And to that, I say... “well, maybe...” Not because I haven’t changed my own buying patterns. I have. And not because I don’t think the survey is valid. I do. I say “maybe” because it hasn’t been— nor will be in the future—all about price. Certainly, it matters. But there are so many other factors that contribute to consumer decisions. Product attributes and benefits play a major role. Colors, words, pictures, smells, thoughts, experiences, referrals, conveniences, sounds, and feelings evoked around the brand also contribute to brand preference...even when money is tighter. So what exactly went on when those brands lost out to the store brands? Without further research, my theory is that one of two things happened:

1) They quit advertising, or... 2) They no longer held a relevant, differentiating, strategic advantage over the non-branded products. To the first point, it’s pretty simple. Advertising breeds familiarity. Familiarity breeds trust. And according to the article, the trusted brands (names like Downy, Huggies and Tide) were still holding their own. The second point is a little more complicated. It takes commitment to innovate and meet (or even foresee) the constantly changing needs of the consumer in ways that are different from the competition. I suppose Crest got its start with one simple type of toothpaste. But did you know that today, there are no less than 60 variations of Crest products...each meeting a slightly (and in some cases not so slightly) different consumer need. The reality is, any brand lacking this type of pursuit runs the risk of being relevant to the consumer only on the basis of price. Certainly, some brands choose this route, and it’s a viable one for a very limited number of players. But most of the manufacturers we work with don’t want to be the low price leader in their markets. When that’s the case, creating new product categories, new product innovations, new distribution methods— and promoting all of these—are critical. I had to laugh when I re-posted the Daily Dog article on LinkedIn last week, and someone critical of the post asked what it had to do with manufacturers and their dealer networks. “Okay,” I thought to myself, “So it’s an article about consumer packaged goods (CPG) and not OEMs. But REALLY? You can’t make the connection?!” © 2014 Hmmm by Jim Huebner

Relevance is the driving force behind ALL consumer buying decisions— whether they’re purchasing a tube of toothpaste or an RV, a bag of chips or a lawn mower. When consumer decisions are made on price alone, it’s sometimes a sign of other missing potential relevancies. And it’s these relevancies that may steer the consumer from a decision based on price, to one that might just enable the brand to be a little more profitable, having added value instead of simply cutting costs. Jim Huebner is President of HuebnerPetersen Integrated Marketing.The firm was established in 1989 and specializes in making companies heroes to their distribution channels through strategic brand positioning, integrated marketing, and front lines marketing services. You can reach Jim at jimh@HuebnerPetersen.com or on LinkedIn. For “Hmmm” archives, CLICK HERE

WORDS TO LIVE BY

T he steps of a man are established by the Lord, hts and He delig in his way. 3 (NASB)

–Psalm 37:2


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