Friday 30 November 2012

Supermarkets agreement to prices and discounts code – a brand responsibility?

By the time legislation catches up with a problem, the damage has already been done. Thus, having made significant progress in building consumer trust in private label and store ‘brand’, retailers forget that branding is really a guarantee that every time the tin is opened, its contents are the same or better than the consumer’s previous experience.

Having come so far, retailers have progressively undermined that trust by manipulation of prices and discounts to the disadvantage of the regular shopper – ‘secure’ in the knowledge that they have adhered to the letter rather than the spirit of the law…

It will be a pity if the new code is allowed to simply become a more demanding set of parameters for further manipulation.

Hopefully, good retailers will see a major opportunity for real differentiation – scope to become the champion of the people by representing transparent value via clear pricing and easy comparison, while competitors allow shoppers’ creeping suspicion to dilute their hard-won brand equity…

However, the real issue for brand owners has to be the realisation that it is their responsibility, rather than that of the retailer, to be the custodian of brand equity at point of purchase.

Brand owners are busy applying all the principles of shopper marketing in the aisle at incremental expense. A pity to allow all gains to be sacrificed at the checkout.

It is vital to ensure that a link is maintained with brand consumers in order that perceived value is exceeded by actual performance by helping shoppers to count and appreciate real value

Making the numbers add up would help…

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