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Received wisdom has always suggested that strong brands will withstand a recession. The argument goes that in a recession there is a flight to safety and strong brands represent safety.
An interesting study carried out amongst consumers in the US suggests exactly the opposite. A half of all the people who had previously been loyal to a brand appear to have reduced their loyalty or defected during 2008. They are switching to the value brands offered by major supermarkets.
This raises the question, “will the same thing happen in business to business markets?”.
There is a possibility that it will not – at least not in quite the same way. Supermarket brands have now become some of the most trusted in their own right. For a number of years there has been a general migration to supermarket brands as people have recognised that the products in the supermarket packaging are quite probably made by the same companies that make premium brand products that cost 30% more.
Things are slightly different in industrial markets. The closest you get to the “supermarket brand” in industrial markets is usually referred to as a generic brand, a Chinese brand, an Eastern European brand etc. In fact, the word “reputation” is used just as often as brand.
However, it would be foolish and naive to think that business to business buyers and specifiers are slavishly buying products from their favoured suppliers at any price, without looking around. In the heady days before the recession it was not untypical to research a market and find that only 20% of companies were “price buyers”. Today it would be unusual to find less than 30% price buyers in any business to business market. The shift to value is occurring everywhere.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 at 8:31 am and is filed under B2B Marketing, Branding, Business To Business, Customer Retention, Economic Downturn, Value. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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