Editor's Comment: Brands that redefine 'value' can win
In the supermarket world, 'value' brands are those of the no-frills variety: the 28p can of beans or the no-nonsense sausage. So what does that make John Lewis?
It certainly isn't the cheapest option, yet marketing director Craig Inglis believes the retailer is perfectly placed to play to people's recessionary needs; not to cut spend, but to 'buy well'. In other words, John Lewis is about true value for money.
This redefinition of what value means is not unique to John Lewis, or its sister retailer, Waitrose. Those that can also be considered value brands are as varied as LK Bennett, which reported gross profits up 17% this week, and Apple.
Yes, these brands come at a price premium, but, as with John Lewis, this is carefully balanced against the reward consumers feel they get, particularly on emotional and 'feelgood' levels.
Like Inglis, Helen Edwards believes a tough economy benefits more than just price-centric brands. When we scrutinise purchasing behaviour, we reappraise exactly what it is about a product we pay for. This 'audit' sorts keeper brands from those we pick up out of habit, just 'because'.
The challenge to remain relevant is faced by brand powerhouses such as Unilever, too. Its chief marketing officer, Keith Weed, points out that if a brand can remain indispensable to consumers, it will succeed regardless of the straitened economic times.
Rachel Barnes (Rachel.Barnes@haymarket.com) is deputy editor of Marketing. Noelle McElhatton is away.
This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk
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