Familiar faces

Imagine a shopping trolley speeding down a supermarket aisle – when it gets to the end, which brands will be getting a ride? Make sure they’re yours…

Familiar faces

Sean Adams

Walk down any supermarket aisle in Australia and you will be faced with an abundance of choice. More categories than ever before, and more brands to choose from within each category.

And it doesn’t stop there – there are also more criteria that we are supposed to be considering when making our choices. Low-fat, salt-reduced, low-GI, organic, Australian-grown, free-trade… simple it is not.

If we gave serious consideration to all the choices available, we’d be spending hours in the supermarket each week.

Of course we can’t afford to do this – we’re all “time poor” after all – but what we do instead is to find (often subliminal) ways to short-circuit our decision-making processes and simplify the choices we have to make.

Often our choices are based on previous experience – have we used the brand before and can we therefore rely on it to deliver in the future?

But what if we don’t have the benefit of previous experience to help us decide?

It is here that “brand familiarity” can play a significant role in providing busy people with a shorthand way of navigating their way through complex categories and helping them reach a decision.

Familiar brands with a clearly understood positioning and memorable packaging can provide customers with a level of reassurance that helps simplify their decision making.

All very well if you are a “fast moving consumer goods” (FMCG) manufacturer, but what if you are not?

I’d suggest that the same issues often apply – supermarkets are not the only place where consumers are facing increased choices, more complex decision-making criteria and less time to make their choices.

Indeed, I’d suggest that just about every business is facing similar issues in its own particular way.

Regardless of whether that business is a retailer, a service industry, a consumer good or a B2B provider, the odds are that its own particular customers are facing more complex purchase decisions than ever before.

While companies can’t do much about the increased choices their customers are facing nowadays, they most certainly can take steps to ensure that their brand is easier to choose.

They can start by ensuring that their brand is a true brand for starters, and not just a faceless product or service. This can help to provide a greater level of confidence to potential customers.

They can also ensure that their brand is clearly and competitively positioned and regularly promoted to make sure that it stands for something in potential customers’ minds at the “moment of truth”.

Regardless of the category, brand owners could do worse than to visualise their customers as speeding down the busy supermarket aisle that is their category, and ask themselves what their brand is doing to ensure it ends up in the trolley.


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