OPINION25 January 2013

As Tesco puts Pampers in its sights, is ‘product’ the battleground of the future?

If Tesco and others were to be successful in turning own-brand products into market leaders, would consumers start to seek out own-brand brands because of their product characteristics, not just their value?

The introduction of Tesco’s “Loves Baby” range isn’t, on the face of it, particularly startling news. Own-brand products have been increasingly favoured by consumers across the board and, even in the baby care category, the supermarket has long been active both with its own-brand products and its Tesco Baby Club, now rebranded the Tesco Loves Baby Club.

But this assertive step into the space vacated by Huggies could be the start of something bigger. There are suggestions within the media that Tesco might be looking to seriously challenge the dominance of P&G’s Pampers. The nappy (or diaper) landscape is clearly changing radically.

And yet Tesco may have to work hard to convince shoppers to switch. With nappies, consumers may need concrete evidence that the own-brand alternative is better.

But if Tesco were to be successful, would we start to see more consumers seeking out own-brand-brands in certain categories on the strength of their product characteristics and not just their value?

For brands, this might mean that they need to work harder in the way they communicate and emotionally connect with people. But it could also imply that product innovation is more important than ever. If their product remains demonstrably superior then brands will retain their favoured status over “cheaper” own-label.

Either way, if the battleground of the future is product excellence and uniqueness at the premium end, and product quality at the value end, the way that products are developed – and the co-creative involvement of consumers – will be more critical than ever.


1 Comment

11 years ago

Surely brands will increasingly go direct in response? The success of direct fmcg propositions like dollarshaveclub.com show it can be done (though obviously razors are small, light and high value). Going direct would leave a lot of margin available for delivery though, not to mention strengthening the relationship with the consumer. Retailer and brand relations don't look like they will be getting any less awkward. Be interesting seeing one of the retailers differentiating itself by positing themselves as the least unpleasant to brand owners.

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