Store Brands

APR 2016

Store Brands delivers unprecedented strategic and tactical information needed by retail executives to develop and support compelling, differentiated store brand programs to build customer loyalty.

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Consumer Insights 2 4 Store Brands / April 2016 / the product's "story" — how the product is going to be different and relevant to their target shopper audience. Create and test The next step is the creation of a set of potential brand names. Such names must consider both the target audience and the product benefits, Beahm notes. "One might argue that the benefit [the product is] going to deliver is even more important than the target audience itself in terms of being reflected in the brand name," he says. "Your brand name should be suggestive in some ways of the benefits to your target customer if you can make it suggestive." It's not always possible to create such a name, Beahm admits, but when it is, the name will reinforce the brand and its uniqueness, increasing appeal to the target audience. Bernard also points to the importance of "creating a cohesive narrative and experience" across the portfolio and across the store in the brand naming process. Also consideration-worthy in the naming process are the six criteria marketing professionals typically rely on to evaluate a brand, Beahm says. The brand should be 1) meaningful, 2) memorable, 3) likeable, 4), transferrable in terms of line or category extensions, 5) adaptable and 6) able to be protected from a legal standpoint. "So once you've got your list of, say, a half dozen name options, you'll want to weigh them against those criteria," he says. "How well do they meet the criteria? Where do they fall short?" Beahm stresses that a brand name seldom meets all six criteria, but the more it can meet, the better. Next on the agenda should be testing among consumers — something Bernard calls important, but infrequently accomplished well. "Normally, consumers are asked 'What do you think of this name?', and their responses are reduced to 'I like it' or 'I do not like it,'" she explains. "Brands should make sure to communicate the brand attributes, vision for the future and encouraged behaviors in addition to the name when testing. That way, consumers will be able to evaluate the name more strategically than basing their assessments on personal anecdotes and feelings." For his part, Beahm has found focus groups to be valuable to the testing process. Such groups could evaluate potential brand names against the six criteria, as well as evaluate other brand aspects such as packaging, packaging colors and more. But he also advises retailers to perform such testing within the retail environment, where the product is on a shelf or a hanger, and also allow employees to weigh in. "It's hard to get a name agreed to by everyone," he says. "But names are those kinds of things that you put up, and the good ones stick and the bad ones fall to the ground." Finally, once a retailer identifies a brand name that scores positively with a large percentage of its target audience, it needs to champion that name inside its organization, Beahm stresses. That championing is part of building consumers' brand knowledge and awareness, which ultimately will be key to the brand's success. Knowledge of the brand encompasses what the brand/product is, what it does and what it stands for. "It's not going to matter what criteria you use if you stop with the name," he adds. "If you don't build knowledge, you're not going to create equity and, ultimately, loyalty." SB Banner name or not? Traditionally, many retailers have used the retail banner name as their store brand name — or part of their store brand names. But recent years have seen a number of retailers moving away from this brand naming convention. "Both strategies can be very effective," says Rachel Bernard, vice president, verbal strategy for New York-based CBX. "In fact, many retailers choose to deploy both strategies. Deciding which is best for a particular situation starts with the 'masterbrand' — consider loyalty and equity." Although he's not completely against the retail banner name being used as the store brand, Roger Beahm, co-executive director of the Center for Retail Innovation at Wake Forest University School of Business, Winston-Salem, N.C., does note that traditionally, brands are associated with a specific category or related categories. "So it's oftentimes better, for a number of reasons, to use different brand names on different products when they are in unrelated categories," he says. "And allow each brand to stand on its own, to build its equity, to develop its own loyal following and to earn that trust with the customer. If you do that, you are going to be able to protect yourself better competitively against premium brand promotions and advertising."

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