Do you have a valuable brand? Or do you just have a widely distributed commodity?

A recent visit to discount gourmet grocery chain Trader Joes made me shudder. and it should be disconcerting to someone whose business depended upon being a famous baked bean or beer or something like that.

Because Trader Joes has none of the brands you know. It has a better and cheaper alternative. And it has its own shabby chic market aesthetic. and once you buy the idea of Trader Joes, a carefully curated blend of “better” quality products that you’ll dig, you don’t need to evaluate brands because there are no competing brands. well there a few i think. but it’s a very chilled out presentation. no hysterics. Trader Joes is not a cavernous store either. it feels local. they curate so you can turn off the “which brand?” switch in your head. which in turn makes the whole experience much better.

let’s face it, who wants to think about peas floating in a can?

7 responses to “Do you have a valuable brand? Or do you just have a widely distributed commodity?

  1. In Berlin we have a couple of non-brands in the supermarket. In one case it’s beer in a black can with just the words 0,5l on it. Somewhere on the back of the can it says “all the money we make we put into making the beer, no advertising, no branding, no graphic design”. It’s dirt cheap and actually not much worse or better than any other lager. It was a no brainer which beer to buy when you were standing infront of the shelf.

  2. It’s a brilliant retailer whose brand can validate every product in the store without depending on the brands on the shelf to sell customers (e.g. IKEA/Gap).

    Cdn and UK supermarkets have done it with private label enabling them to create loyalty where before people checked the flyer to find where Heinz Beanz are on sale.

  3. sort of a simultaneously a reminder of the power of the brand (trader joes, IKEA) and how vulnerable brands can be.

  4. I shop almost exclusively at Trader Joe’s. So inexpensive and sooo good.

    Practically a trader to my people.

    But yeah, Trader Joe’s is a great brand with incredible loyalty.

  5. The name is really buddy-like. Joe, the trader, immediately implies “my best friend” when I hear it.

  6. yes vik. it’s very accessible. it doesn’t judge you.

  7. Here here. Trader Joe’s in Marietta (Atlanta metro) ROCKS. Check out my blog post…
    http://novelbrand.wordpress.com/2010/06/10/brand-groupie-report-trader-joes/

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