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It’s a bad time to be a brand


That certainly appears to be the conventional wisdom anyway, what with all the talk about consumers trading down and retailers increasing their emphasis on private brands to improve margins. Both factors may be true, but all brands aren’t created equal, and some of those with an already dominant position in the marketplace stand to gain share during the down economy; especially since major retailers are aggressively promoting leading brands with sharp pricing as a means to demonstrate value and generate customer traffic. That’s certainly the case with Target, where it’s all about brands these days. In store, the company touts “big brands, small prices,” with special signage and a dedicated department where top brands are featured. This week, Target is offering a $5 gift card when customers buy any two featured Procter & Gamble brands such as Tide, Bounty, Olay, Pampers or Charmin. The offer was featured on a full page in this week’s circular, along with dozens of additional brands from other manufacturers on a two-page spread under the headline, “spotlight on savings.” The company also took a brand-friendly approach in promoting its private brands. Instead of simply featuring its own brands, Target also promoted leading brands such as Ziploc, Glad, NicoDerm, L’Oreal, Swiffer and Advil and showed its equivalent items adjacent to the branded item with price points for both.

With the economy expected to remain in a funk for the remainder of the year, look for the emphasis on brands to remain intact, especially with Walmart continuing to hammer on its value proposition of “unbeatable prices.” The cover of its most recent promotional piece touts, “Quality brands. Unbeatable prices,” and features brands such as Lay’s, Pepsi, Dial, Dove and Crest.


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