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    Where Do My Loyalties Lie?

    I’m probably a terrible marketer, because my brand loyalty is pretty terrible. Case in point: I’ve bought vouchers from Groupon, TravelZoo, and LivingSocial, and if Amazon puts one out that piques my interest, I’ll happily buy one from them too. The thing is, my loyalties seem to lie with one product in particular: Brazilian Steakhouses. Man, I love Brazilian Steakhouses, and I’ve now purchased 3 vouchers to Brazilian Steakhouses.

    The thing is, in a first-world country, everything is so well-made that selling something on “quality” is going to be a pretty hard sell. Especially for people like my husband and I, who read a lot of frugality, personal finance, early retirement blogs (see many of the link recommendations in the Friday posts!). I’ve found that most of the generic products work just as well as the branded products. What’s funny, though, is that many of the generic products have started their own branding! Take Archer Farms, Target’s “generic” brand. They have nice packaging, and bill themselves as a premium product, even though, in theory they are “the other guy”. When generics first became popular, you saved money because items had no packaging, no advertising, no logo, nothing. You could buy a plain white bag labeled “chips” in plain black font, or “shampoo” in a plain black bottle with plain white lettering. But now, the generics have appealing pictures, catchy product names, and they occupy prime shelf space, often infringing on the SKU territory of their branded rivals.

    All this to say, my loyalties are starting to lie with a type of product, not a logo. I still want the logo on some things, like Band-Aids. The generics literally don’t stick, at all, for more than 2 minutes! And, I do recognize differences in quality for clothes and make-up, but I guess I’ve found that most clothing in my price range is pretty much the same quality. Most make-up in my price range is all but equal. But canned vegetables? Give me the generics every time! And vouchers to Brazilian Steakhouses…. you don’t see any discrimination from me!

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    2 Responses to “Where Do My Loyalties Lie?”

    1. Angeline says:

      I’m with you…there are so many comparable options, why stick to just one brand? Sure, I have my favorite products that I go back to time after time, but I almost always veer toward generics when it comes to groceries and home goods (except TP and paper towels…just not as good). Branding of generics is very interesting…as you mention, Target has a few different ones, and Safeway (groceries) had 3 or 4 as well. I’m guessing at some point there used to be a stigma that discouraged people from buying generics, but in this economic climate, I think it’s pretty much gone away.

    2. Ashley Faus says:

      Yes, I think it’s not just the economic climate, but the entire culture of “frugal is cool” that we see with personal finance bloggers, branding generics, and the coupon craze of all the sites I listed in the post. This, coupled with the quality improvements in generics had made them a strong threat to the name-brand products.

      I might need to do a post on the cannibalization that happens, since there’s usually only one “generic” option but 5-10 “branded” options. Someone who always shops generic has less choice than someone who shops brands but has no loyalty… oh no, how you’ve got me going down another marketing rabbit hole, Angeline :)

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