There is a seismic shift underway in store brand names. They are much more powerful than a decade ago, when they were rarely advertised and often packaged anonymously.
Today, store brands offer better quality, better design – and better names.
One of five items sold in U.S. stores in 2005 was store-branded. In Europe, the percentage is slightly higher. By 2020, sales of store brands are expected to reach 30% of the worldwide market, according to London-based M+M Planet Retail.
Two quick examples:
- Wal-Mart’s brand of dog food, Ol’ Roy (named for the founder’s pooch) has quietly passed Purina as the world’s top-selling dog chow.
- 7-Eleven introduced its own beer, dubbed Santiago, to steal share from the Mexican import Corona.
At the grocery goliath Kroger, there are more than 4,000 privately branded food and drink items.
At the French marketer Carrefour, a major internal branding program emphasizes quality, image and innovation. These store brands are not designed to sell merely on the basis of price. They are carefully named and positioned to elbow others off the shelf.
How much better is the quality?
In 2005, Consumer Reports tested 65 products in six categories (facial tissues, paper towels, plastic bags, canned peaches, French fries and yogurt). The magazine’s conclusions: “Many store brands are at least as good as national brands. Switching to a store brand can cut the cost of a product by as much as half.”A blind taste test asked 300 consumers to sample 1,800 products in 10 geographic locations. The test included store brands from Safeway, Wal-Mart, Trader Joe’s and others, going up against brands such as Betty Crocker, Maxwell House and Minute Maid. Overall, store brands rated just as highly as their national counterparts.
And better design? No question about it. Packaging is more attractive now, and gets more time and attention from staff and outside designers. The overall effect: Store brands look more authentic.
And store brand naming has taken a leap forward. Internal brandmeisters now weigh competitive names against the attributes of their own brands. Their names reflect crispness, communications platforms, and eye and ear appeal. Consider:
- Wal-Mart’s store brands, such as Great Value bleach, Sam’s Choice tuna, Spring Valley vitamins and Equate analgesics, make up a big chunk of total store sales.
- Safeway created a signature brand of beef, Rancher’s Reserve, and has heavily promoted it to compete with higher-priced national brands.
- Kroger offers a line of “life’s little pleasures” (macadamia nuts, Canadian maple syrup, extra-virgin olive oil) under the Private Selection banner.
- A&P’s commitment to quality store brands goes back to 1994, when it launched America’s Choice (everyday products in 170 categories), Master Choice (specialty items) and Health Pride (OTC and personal care items).
- Stop & Shop Supermarkets introduced Nature’s Promise, a line of natural and organic foods; and MiCasa, “for those with a taste for authentic Latin food.”
Bottom line: Expect more and better house-brand names.
The Blake Project Can Help: The Strategic Brand Storytelling Workshop
Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Brand Education