Branding - benefits of it

What is Happening with Own Brands

What is happening with own Brands?

What is happening with own Brands? If you have your own brand you’d be smart to understand what everyone else is up to. With supermarkets and alike reducing the number of brands on their shelves in favour of their own brands, consumer choice is becoming limited. This is most likely an experience we all share, but are you aware just how far own branding is going? It’s not just the likes of Tesco’s own brands such as; Tesco Value, Tesco’s Own and Tesco Signature. There’s so much more happening behind the scenes when it comes to branding.

As a brand owner, here’s a few snippets you may find interesting:

The Retailers & Branding

Supermarkets also have their own unique set of brands. These are no doubt based on top selling products from their sales analysis. For example, take a look at Boots own No 7 range and its own branding

Amazon’s at it too and on a much larger scale. All that hard work resellers have put in to finding unique products to sell through Amazon’s platform may well result in Amazon creating their own brand and acquiring a chunk of those resellers sales. Brands you may already be familiar with are: Amazon Basics and Amazon Essentials. However, they’ve cast their net much wider with other brands including: Presto (health & household), Kid Nation (Kids clothing), Mama Bear (Baby range). If you want to see the whole list ‘recode’ have done a great summary, check it out here.

holland & barret

Holland & Barrett

Holland & Barrett have been reducing Brands on shelf in favour of their own brand for years. A significant number of products on shelf are now branded Holland & Barrett. Sadly, this limits ‘quality’ available in store as it does with supermarkets.

The Distributors

Distributors are on it too and are beginning to sell a portfolio of own brands. For a plethora of reasons. Here’s our top three:

  1. Through frustration of dealing with a brand who continuously has issues with supply, otherwise they probably wouldn’t have even considered it!
  2. Able to sell their own product and make greater margin…which is always very incentivising.
  3. Brands streamlining their supply process too much resulting in lack of staff and therefore only concentrating on large accounts, which not every distributer has access to.

Brand owners

So, what’s next for brands? Brands have started setting up their own websites and selling other brands as well. This means there’s no ‘ceiling’ on the amount of products a brand can sell, or revenue a brand can make by restricting itself to its own lines. We are seeing this happen much more often.

The Power of Branding

The Power of Branding – What is happening with own Brands?

Have your own brand, thinking of selling on or directly to Amazon? Here’s some food for thought:

Should I sell my brand direct to Amazon?

No is the quick answer. You can often loose complete control over your brand. If Amazon buys your brand and they don’t sell it, they may slash prices (even at a loss) to sell it through. This can rapidly ‘mature’ your brand and extremely quickly, resulting in you needing to start brand building all over again.

Should I sell on Amazon under my actual brand name or a ‘ghost brand’ name?
Logo of Amazon

Is selling direct to amazon a good idea?

This is a great question and one we get asked often. It really depends on your brand positioning. High end brands can use Amazon to gain access to their millions of active customers and it often drives traffic to their own brand website where they reap the rewards of greater margins then on Amazon. However, just as many high end brands do not want their products appearing on Amazon at all and this needs to be managed. Lower to mid end brands often sell on Amazon and usually under a ‘ghost brand’, so they don’t dilute their own brand’s identity, which they will have spent some considerable time and money building.

Mostly we’ve found, brands prefer not to be involved when it comes to their brands being sold on Amazon. This is a mistake, although you can’t leverage complete control in many cases (depending on how your distribution is set up), it is better to know what is happening with your branding than stick your head in the sand.

Need to talk to someone about Branding Strategy? Give us a call or drop us an email.

Brand Reputation Management on Amazon and eBay

Brand Reputation Management in Market Places

Keeping control of your brand in e-commerce marketplaces

You can sometimes come across some very poor brand images browsing the internet. You’ve just seen one you can’t get out of your head. It’s small, low resolution, badly lit and …oh no, it certainly doesn’t comply with your brand guidelines! In fact, didn’t you discontinue that particular pack variant in 2009?

Product images for your brand can proliferate on online market places such as Amazon and eBay which are now significant sales channels. Not only can they damage the hard work you’ve put into developing and managing your brand, they can also damage your (and your distributors) SEO due to the massive weight given to online market places trumping your own brands organic results. this type of intense pricing competition drives down your RRP and can in turn devalue your brand. What’s worse, if listings link back to you (I’m looking at you, Ebay), they can generate hundreds of spammy links that further impact on your Search Engine Ranking Positions (SERP’s).

But don’t despair – this is a situation that you can actually control. It just takes a little extra vigilance and a more detailed knowledge of how online market places operate. After all, it’s no more in their interests to have brands badly represented on their platform than it is yours.

First you have to make a strategic choice about your brand reputation management in market places and on the web in general.

Do you want your brand to appear in online marketplaces? After all, in a competitive marketplace, you may feel a presence on these channels is a must for your brand while allowing your distributors to sell here supports their business models.

But just because you’re happy for your brand to appear in online marketplaces doesn’t mean you need to lose control of it – you can manage how your valuable Intellectual Property (IP) – AKA your Brand – is presented by resellers.
Amazon enables brand owners to register IP over their brand. This lets you control all Amazon listings for your products and the barcodes associated with them. You can ensure that multiple listings of differing quality does not emerge for your products, and you can dictate which images and copy are displayed. You still need to be vigilant and put in place regular monitoring to ensure new ASINs are not generating with your brands products/EANs…but at least Amazon will take swift action when you identify any misuse of your IP.

However, on eBay, there is no central listing for each product so it is much more difficult to control listing quality. It is also a less transparent platform in that you cannot find detailed information on sellers and contact them. This is my suggested methodology for controlling re-sellers activity on Ebay:

• Compile a list of known resellers and contact them ask them to enforce brand guidelines. Be ready to provide images and content for each listing in order to support the reseller in meeting your guidelines.
• If retailer doesn’t respond and does not amend listings, report to Ebay’s VeRO programme as infringing your IP.

On the other hand, perhaps you’ve decided that you don’t want your brand to appear on online market places at all! This is an easy situation to deal with as all market places are geared up to help you protect your IP and you can act very quickly. However, in order to maintain good relationships with resellers, you should contact them advising them you’ll be withdrawing your product from listing on specific platforms (eg Amazon, eBay). You should also provide a timescale within which this will take effect.

Once you’re ready to remove your brands from key platforms, you need to submit a formal request through their IP departments. For Amazon, this takes the form of an infringement of IP request listing all ASINs which infringe your IP, supporting this with trademark registration details. For eBay, it takes the form of a submission to the VeRO programme, cataloguing all Ebay listings which infringe your IP, again supporting this with trademark registration details.

Whichever route you choose, it’s vital to put in place monthly monitoring to ensure that new listings featuring your IP are actioned as soon as they appear.

…and don’t forget, while you make these Strategic decisions about how and where your brand appears, these decisions will impact on distributors and resellers. You must ensure wherever possible they understand and comply with your guidelines, preferably before they make a commitment to marketplace selling. For instance, ensure that your terms and conditions to resellers include clauses enabling you to restrict their right to sell on online market places.

Now you should be able to sleep at night, knowing that your brand is safe!

Julia Brooksbank

Relton Associates