Brandless Demise Reveals How Manufacturers Succeed
Brandless has been a contrarian from the start. The company stuck to the notion that brands don't matter in the sea of consumables, but fungible products. All things are the same, all things are essentially the same things, just different. Generic. Generally the same thing. Unbranded.
Brandless failed as a business. The tragedy is not that it was built on the wrong premise. Insight: In a world where we can choose from hundreds of automobiles, jeans, yoga pants, gums and fruit smoothies, we are all part of a great similarity.
Millennials in particular grew up in a time when quality and quantity were constant, and many are exhausted by the wealth of goods thrown at them. Generics are a means to simplify the storm of things.
In the meantime, sales growth for generic and / or private label products can be double or triple that of established 100-year-old brands.
Based on these findings (and probably a few more) and the infinite urge to disrupt, SoftBanks' Vision Fund announced a $ 240 million financing round for brandless in July 2018. It took 19 months for Vision Fund to pull the plug.
The cause of the fall of brandless? Two things (at least). FirstThey couldn't call themselves "brandless" and then call themselves a brand. This hubris alone was an emotional and psychological game when you tried to scale. Is there brand loyalty if you are not a brand? Can angels dance on a pinhead?
How do you build mass from a basic concept of masslessness?
Brands are not products. Brands are the people who group around products. Brands are no longer just the trademark, but the supporters, fans, likes and zealots who share the same taste, the same values, the same world view and the same aspirations. They go right away, they talk right away, sometimes they even buy right away.
The new mission is to create a crowd around you that is so passionate about your success that they create it yourself. They float on your boat in a marketplace full of options.
Second. If you want to be generic in the cosmos of merchandising, you have to get past the great gods of Amazon and Walmart. Each of these brands has its own generic, be it under the guise of private label or generic in white. (84% of Walmart customers are more likely to buy Walmart brands than well-known brands.)
(Note that those who market generics and their cousins - private labels and private labels – such as Target & # 39; s Archer Farms, Amazon Elements, Walmart's "Great Value" ™, do so by expose to their own well-established brand. Whether they're a brand house or a brand house, they are branches from the same tree.)
The moral consequence of the failure of brandless is that companies have to brand more, not less, with people, places or products. (Indeed, Brandless could have branded itself more and may have been successful.)
Current events show that companies need to understand that performance marketing and brand marketing are not mutually exclusive. Brands are inherently inclusive. Everyone has to expand their network by looking for and attracting more "people like us".
What kind of brand community do you want to build? Workshop this: If your brand was a city, who would live there, what would it look like, what sounds would you hear, what would it smell like, who wouldn't want to live with you? What things are you celebrating? What things do you loathe?
If you don't know, you need to find out.
Your brand is not a washed-out fake. Your brand is your customer. Brandless tried to create an imperial city until it became one.
Contribution to the Branding Strategy Insider by: Patrick Hanlon, author of Primal Branding
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