Private Brands Path to Marketing Claims

In this guest post, Rachel Bailey of ChefsBest discusses the tasting panels and private brand.

Comparative marketing claims allows private brands to differentiate themselves from the competition. However, it’s not as easy as simply saying you have the better product.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, brands that utilize comparative claims must be able to substantiate them whether they directly reference competitors or not.

How your private brand goes about obtaining that proof is largely dependent on your marketing goals, budget, company size, and even the types of claims you’d like to pursue.

Taking Budget into Account
Consumer research often involves surveying large groups of your target market in a number of geographic regions nationwide. Finding those groups, as well as professionals to conduct the research, can be expensive and time-consuming.

An expert panel, which must incorporate blind taste tests and a formulaic, repeatable method of measuring taste, can result in cost-savings because the research does not have to be conducted in various geographic regions.

Pursuing Specific Claims
Choosing which method of taste testing you prefer will determine which marketing claims you can use.

It’s important to keep in mind that consumer research, though costly, does not guarantee positive results such as the ability to take substantiated claims to market.

If favorable results are obtained, however, consumer research can open the door to using the following claims:

  • Claims involving people’s feelings about your product as compared to the competition (e.g., people prefer your chocolate flavor over the competition’s)
  • Claims stating people like it (e.g., kids like cereal A)
  • Claims stating people still like it following a change in formula (e.g., same great taste that kids love, now with half the sugar)

Expert panels, which are usually much more cost-efficient, can pave the way for the following claims:

  • Claims regarding superior taste (e.g., this specific Greek yogurt tastes better than any other products in its category)
  • Claims about a product’s attributes (e.g., more chocolate flavor)
  • Claims about how it performs (e.g., cereal A remains crunchy when eaten with milk)
  • Claims regarding changes in taste following reformulations (e.g., same great taste, with half the sodium)
  • Claims regarding product differences (e.g., jelly A has more strawberry flavor than jelly)

The End Result
Both consumer and expert panel research allow private brands to make parity claims, which compare a private brand’s product to other products in the marketplace and assert that the product is “as good as” or “better than” the competition.

What the two forms of research do not have in common, however, is the time and money needed to conduct the tests. Private brands can unlock coveted marketing claims efficiently by utilizing an expert panel.

Coming to ChefsBest with dual degrees from the Culinary Institute of America and the University of Houston, Rachel Bailey brings with her classic and contemporary culinary sensibilities, experience from a stint in a three Michelin-starred restaurant, as well as broad wine knowledge from her time in the Napa Valley. Providing insight on production and flavor, she helps brands maximize their taste messaging and connect the consumer audience with unique tastes, production, and technical components of individual food products.

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.