Evidence that we need to pay attention to our brand

Picture_6 When was the last time you saw a grocery aisle stocked with generic products? 

You remember the generic promise:

  • Made by the same manufacturers as the brand name products
  • In blind taste tests, no one could tell the difference
  • Cheaper

Sounds like a slam dunk, doesn’t it?  And yet, generic products have vanished off the shelf. 

Consumers are drawn to the safe and familiar, for the most part.  They want reliability and comfort in their decision.

They want you to create a brand they can trust and rely on.  Are you?

7 comments on “Evidence that we need to pay attention to our brand

  1. Janet says:

    It’s true that the white-label generics have all but vanished… but you know what’s taken their place? House brands! Stores are putting their own name on a huge range of products, many of which indeed rival the ‘big brands’ for quality AND beat their prices. Hy-Vee is a great example of this – their house brand is excellent on nearly everything I’ve tried, with only a few exceptions. A personal friend of mine used to be the President of Vista Bakery down in Burlington, and a huge portion of his business was selling grocery stores on the concept of putting their house brand on Vista products. To be honest, I think I prefer this over the actual generics. There was always something about that white label that screamed “LOW SAFETY STANDARDS” to me.

  2. Yeah, the white and black label on food was a big turnoff for me. Just suggests bland and boring and can’t possibly taste good. It made me think it was stale and out of date too.

    I have no problem buying generic pharmacy products though. I feel duped if I don’t buy generic.

  3. Bill Gammell says:


    I think it boils down to expectations and irrational thought. First, we expect more out of a brand (and ourselves when we use a brand) then we do a generic. And we typically find – to some degree – what we were expecting (at least from something that we have tried before).

    Second, we are often not rational beings. If we were, we would all buy generics, eat at McDonalds for fuel and wear those lovely shinny silver jump suits you always see in movies depicting the future.

  4. Lewis,

    And to go one further than that — esteem. It’s why Harley owners will pay 2-3 times as much for a bike.


  5. Janet,

    Thanks for raising this point. It supports my earlier comments. Hy-Vee labeled foods are not generic. They are associated with the Hy-Vee brand. That’s as meaningful to you as Wonder Bread or Smuckers jam. Because you have an emotional reaction/tie to Hy-Vee.

    You are choosing their brand over another. Just like if you were picking Jif over Skippy.


  6. Cathy,

    Do you suppose your reaction to generic pharmaceuticals is because when they get to you — generic or not, they’re packaged in the same way?

    And you probably aren’t familiar with or have an emotional connection with any of the big pharma companies.

    Does that make sense to how you react differently?


  7. Bill,

    Yup. That’s one of the reasons why so many marketing efforts fail. They appeal to the rational buyer as opposed to the emotional one.

    You mean you don’t wear the shiny silver suit?


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