With Economies In Turmoil, Brands Feel The Pressure On Price

According to National Retail Federation’s 2011 Back-to-School survey, Americans are compensating for the soft economy by purchasing more store-brand or generic items (39.9%), comparison shopping more online (29.8%), and shopping for sales (50.0%). Additionally, nearly half of survey respondents said the economy is forcing them to simply spend less in general (43.7%).

Chart: Back-to-School 2011 – B2S and B2C Spending by Year_small

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Back-to-School 2011 - B2S and B2C Spending by Year_small

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“Back-to-school shopping may be exhilarating for kids who ride along, but for mom and dad this is serious business,” said Pam Goodfellow, Consumer Insights Director, BIGresearch (the company that conducted the survey for NRF).

Speaking as a brand builder, these are not good signs. Stoking brand value in an economy where few can afford to pay a premium is challenging work. In my opinion, it’s also a great reminder to invest in the brand, and to do a gut check, making sure your product or service is worthy of your customers’ hard-earned money.

When times are tight, there’s literally no room for poor customer service or poor performance of any kind. This includes producing less than amazing marketing communications. Now is the time for a tightly constructed brand strategy and an efficient means of working through said strategy. Let me know how Bonehook can help.

[UPDATE] I mentioned “Back to School” as my “Story to Watch” on last night’s recording of The BeanCast. Please click over to Bob Knorpp’s site and give the show a listen.

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