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    Be 'courageous' with store brand marketing

    Retailers could keep store brands in the spotlight with "silly" marketing based on current events.

    By Michal Christine Escobar, Store Brands magazine

    For private brands to be successful in today's marketplace, retailers need to be "courageous," said Karen Post, the self-proclaimed "Branding Diva" from Brain Tatoo Branding, Tampa, Fla., in a June 12 presentation held during the Food Marketing Summit's (FMI) Private Brands Summit in Chicago. The summit was part of the Arlington, Va.-based institute's FMI Connect event.

    Fear on the part of the retailer is often the biggest roadblock to a store brand's success when it comes to branding, Post said. And the bigger the retailer, the bigger the fear often is. Sometimes retailers get some great ideas from their team members, but they worry about what their competitors will say or what the media will say, she said.

    "Lose the fear! Great branding is about having courage. If you think about the brands you buy, the ones that stick in your head, they have done something that took courage, way back when. If there is no risk, there is no brand," she added.

    One of the best ways to catch consumer eyes is with "silliness," Post noted. But silly marketing on its own isn't enough; it must be relevant to consumers' lives or newsworthy.

    She noted that fast food company KFC put a bit of silliness into marketing recently. The company ran a promotion for prom season where it offered a limited number of corsages that incorporated a piece of fried chicken. This one promotion increased online engagement with the KFC brand by 60 percent.

    Post also pointed to a small taco company in Buffalo, N.Y., called Mighty Taco. After the news broke that Putin had seized Crimea from the Ukraine, the company ran a newspaper ad and announced via social media that it banned Putin from eating at any Mighty Taco restaurant location. The ad said Putin might be ordering around Crimea, but he wouldn't be ordering a Super Mighty, one of the chain's most popular items.

    These promotions were not expensive, Post said, but they worked because they made the brands feel current and fun, and they gave the brands a personality. Retailers don't need huge marketing budgets to create fun, innovative marketing campaigns like these for their store brands; they simply need to think beyond the traditional ways of getting their message out to the consumer, she stressed.

    By Michal Christine Escobar, Store Brands magazine
    • About Michal Christine Escobar Michal Christine Escobar is managing editor of Store Brands magazine. She can be reached at [email protected]

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