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Black Friday and the Commoditization of Brands

Brands are getting squeezed by retailers and online shoppers at ever-increasing paces.

This is a tumultuous time period for consumer brands. Large retailers like Walmart and Target are continually squeezing brands’ prices. R&D and manufacturing cycles are getting shorter and shorter, speeding competing products to the market. Supermarkets are pushing private label products over branded ones. Online shoppers can find out just about everything about brands, including the lowest price retailers in the world.

And now Black Friday and the remainder of the Christmas shopping season is getting so competitive that retailers are squeezing out virtually all of their profits to attract customers, who are spending less and less on better and better bargains. Actually, though, retailers are primarily squeezing their suppliers – the packaged goods and other consumer goods companies.

More than ever, manufacturers need to establish their brand positions in the eyes of consumers, and they need to deliver that message in all of the ways that consumers are receptive. People must want and seek out their brands; otherwise, they will get squeezed beyond sustainability. Every marketer today needs to continually ask if they’ve given their brand a reason not to be removed or discounted from retailers’ shelves.

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