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Dealing with Private Label & Copycat Brands Overrunning the Market

Private label and copycats are taking advantage of everything that savvy brands have invested millions of dollars in for decades.

Cheap product packaging and brand design services are making it easier than ever for essentially what are ‘copies’ of a more successful product, to be mass produced and enter our markets.

These types of private labels silhouetting our favourite products are fast-becoming a driving force behind how consumers perceive brands and make purchasing decisions.

Let’s look at why they’re so powerfully influential in the eyes of consumers and what small business owners can do with their brand packaging to measure up competitively.

Why are they succeeding?

Supermarket chains have capable of fast-paced product sourcing and product packaging design turn-around times making it far easier for their labels and branding to be updated according to a market’s activity.

Snap decisions can be made based on trends and other market movements with fresh, food packaging designs and box packaging designs being generated at the drop of a hat.

Private labels are able to access, analyse and evaluate their own shelf sales data to quickly determine category gaps and product packaging successes and failures.

Private labels and their abundance of resources

Being able to immediately carry out a packaging design overhaul following a sales and profitability review offers flexible and experimental advantages to large supermarket chains and retailers.

They can opt in and out of markets, categories and design trends in a heartbeat, ridding poorly performing products from their shelves and replacing them with copycat labels lightning-fast. This is something much more challenging for brand marketers from smaller organisations attempting to keep up by introducing new brand logo designs and product packaging on the run!

Competing now means small-time brands have an even more monumental task ahead of them trying to match the redesign pace of these multi-national private corporations. Existing brands are now forced to develop and implement product packaging strategies by planning three to five years into the future. A marketing mission that seems to become more insurmountable with time.

Pressures from the Copycats: How to rise above them

How to tackle the increasing threat of private label and copycat brands is one of the most significant and brand-defining questions facing every branding agency today.

This constant ease of market penetration and product adjustment forces both brands and their advertising specialists to deal with a number of pressures likely to worsen every year including:

  • Management of internal politics, ever changing expectations, pressure from global investors and moving goal posts.
  • Increased staff turn-over rates.
  • Increased budget pressure and corporate culture instability.
  • New marketing managers making their own best interests the priority instead of promoting and funding innovation.

All of these factors create brand pressure and instability within a company. The end result is often a costly, reactive response to both the market and internal forces.

Dealing with Private Label & Copycat Brands Overrunning the Market

Business Branding Strategy – The road back to the top

For small business brands to remain successful and sustainable in the face of increased private label competition, a three to five year evolutionary strategic growth plan is basically inevitable.

This sort of approach ensures brands and their product packaging stay relevant regardless of market and trend shifts or what they’re competitors’ next move is.

It’s also considered a ‘journey-orientated’ marketing model. This is designed to take existing and current consumer audiences on a trek through time, bringing with them their emotional connection and loyal reasoning for buying a specific product.

This journey is formulated by design and packaging branding agencies that will:

  • Keep them one step ahead of all the competition and keeps the brand relevant.
  • Attract and acquire new consumers continuously.
  • Allow them to better operate and adapt to market trends and regulatory changes.
  • Ultimately generate consistent revenue growth.

Getting on the front foot before external elements begin to force you into reactive product packaging measures is the key to saving money, time and the hassle involved with ‘no option’ changes later on.

Reducing the risks and costs of reactive pressures

With all of this in check, the big lingering questions is simply:  What’s the difference between a refresh triggered by a predetermined Evolutionary Strategic Brand Plan, versus a provoked brand design makeover?

Without it, brands are vulnerable and subject to endure the harsh and unpredictable swings of the market and may have to implement ‘band-aid’ solutions as a combatant.

Along with the No Option conditions forcing brands to change their packaging, there are an additional ten market questions brands must ponder to determine whether a product packaging change would be worthwhile.

A brand who’s implemented an Evolutionary Strategic Plan will use the following indicators to assess if the next stage of the strategy is required and when. These include:

  1. When was the packaging last upgraded?
  2. When did your competitors last change their product packaging or business brand identity?
  3. Are there new purchasing behaviour influences you don’t know affecting your target audience?
  4. Are you and your retailer on the same page in terms of ideas and direction?
  5. Are you and your consumers on the same page regarding what they need and what you offer?
  6. Has your brand packaging become unappealing over time?
  7. Is your packaging content still accurate?
  8. Is your current solution cost-efficient?
  9. Are you up to date with what’s considered ‘hot’ in the market?
  10. Have you added more SKU’s to your range?

Welcoming challenges vs market position sacrifice – The fine line

Keeping your brand renewed, relevant and enticing without confusing, alienating or losing existing customers has always been the makeup of a fine balance.

Your evolutionary strategy needs to take the consumer on the new journey outlined above, allowing them to stay connected to the brand whilst leading a variety of new consumers towards your product lines.

It’s important to know that when a package design changes, consumers will tend to contemplate if the original product may have also changed, potentially affecting quality or other factors.

Redesigning your brand or product packaging design requires a high degree of experience, knowledge and skill to be executed effectively. That’s where a creative design agency in Brisbane or Sydney like Jam and Co. comes into the mix!

Shoot us a message at the Jam & Co branding agency in Sydney to learn more about creating an Evolutionary Strategic Brand Plan for your business brand identity. Alternatively, please visit our Blog page for our other recent articles.


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