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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Returning to brand basics

According to the Chinese zodiac, 2024 signals the Year of the Dragon. Closer to home, Brett Goldhawk has decided otherwise



Yep, that’s what I’m naming 2024.

And this theory is quite different to the ongoing marketing debate around distinctiveness vs. differentiation. Or the long and short of anything. Not a glimmer of mental availability, brand recall or overall awareness (beyond shelf). 2024 is about physical availability and those ‘tried & tested’ promotional mechanics that once served you so well. And it’s these levers that need pulling the hardest.

In simple terms. It’s about being available in the places people are shopping for your product, in a format that is desirable and at a price that is motivating; screaming at the top of your lungs ‘look at me, put me in your basket’.

And let’s be clear I’m talking shopper language, not brand – save money, win big, buy one get X free, planet friendly (without being righteous), bigger, better, longer. Everything that could and should convert the sale.

So, where is packaging developing in the year ahead? well less about what’s new and shiny and instead taking a deep dive into what promotional mechanics have historically worked best for you, how you can enhance your shelf ‘findability’ and a visit to the broom cupboard to unpackage those shopper marketing kits that lost out to the advertising and digital spend in last year’s budget.

People don’t really care about many brands, just products. In 2019, a report (based on a sample of 350,000), said they wouldn’t care if 77 percent of everyday brands disappeared. This was before the shit-show that was Covid, the brand profiteering that comes from the cost-of-living crisis, and the surge in Own Label dominance. And if we think hypothetically, it is within the realms of possibility that people probably wouldn’t care if 99 percent of everyday brands disappeared from our shelves. A reason Aldi is now part of the Big 5 – an inventory of copycat brands sold using the exact shopper language I mention above.

So… get the foodies to put the good stuff back into your product that once made it memorable, reverse the shrinkflation gun, stack it high and sell it (very) competitively or more important include ‘value add’ to your brand like an on-pack promotion, retailer collaboration or high impact shopper marketing to grab their attention. That way you’ll be back in the cupboard, the fridge, or the cheeky snack drawer; reminding people that when you remove all the hyperbole of brand, the very definition of brand has always meant to be… ‘better than’. Because if you’re not ‘better than’ on any kind of consumer metric (price, format, functionality, specialness and so on), then you really don’t belong in the race anyway.

But if you are in the race, and you think deservedly so then two words for you. RINSE, REPEAT.

That’s how humans behave! we continually repeat an action or sequence of events over and over and spend 95 percent of our time being tiresomely predictable – the shopping list or the weekend take-away. Or at least we did until brands got greedy or lazy and consumers were forced to seek out alternatives. That’s why getting back in the shopper basket must be a primary focus for this year and to execute that strategy then physical availability, product placement, format, pricing, and promotion must be top of the agenda. To remind those very consumers (who did seek out alternative products) that you were once part of that very cycle of RINSE, REPEAT or if you shout loud enough you can become a new member of this famed basket of goods.




Brett Goldhawk
Brett Goldhawk
Brett Goldhawk Managing Director, Ziggurat, Brett is a global brand and innovation specialist. He leads Ziggurat, a brand and packaging design agency which has been based in the heart of London for over 35 years. Specialising in the food and drink sectors, Ziggurat has created and launched countless category leaders. https://ziggurat.london

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