Home Brands Winning the Fight Over Big Brands

Christmas is a great time to catch up with family and friends that you hardly see. This year I ran into a friend of mine who works for a chemical manufacturer. The organisation he works for happens to specialise in anti-bacterial hand washes and sunscreen creams.

After exchanging our greetings I asked how work was and he told me that manufacturing was tough and would only be getting tougher. The weather was hot (it is Christmas and summer in Australia at the moment) and so I took out the sunscreen my wife had purchased from our local supermarket to apply on my children’s skin. He asked why we had purchased that particular brand and my wife explained that she recognised the brand and that the bottle looked easy to open and close. He then began to explain that the difference between the brand offered by the supermarket “Home Brand” and the brand we had purchased was probably perfume only, ie one had a different aroma added to it than the other. In terms of the protection offered, there was no difference. The company he worked for made several brands of sunscreen and they where all pretty much exactly the same, differentiated by packaging and therefore price.

He extended his comparison to the anti-bacterial hand cleanser that his company also makes. Our local supermarket stocks a few brands and we have gotten used to the smell of a particular brand that we now buy regularly. The formula used was very similar if not the same across each of the brands that they packaged on behalf of other companies.

With all of this information at hand it got me thinking. Of late the press had been hammering the big supermarkets about their drive to have customers purchase “home brand” products by essentially giving them priority positioning on shelves as well as undercutting the competition on price.

Can millions of dollars invested in a brand disappear literally over night if you learn that brand A and brand B are essentially the same? Are you likely to switch to a “home branded” product offered by a supermarket simply because it is 30% lower in price than the traditional market leader. Should we as consumers care if big brands are being driven out of the market by cheaper alternatives with the distribution power to undercut them?

The large supermarket chains of Coles and Woolworths dominate grocery shopping in Australia. IGA and a few independents offer some competition but the shear distribution of these large chains means they control what we eat and what brands we buy. Or do they?

The press is telling us that if we don’t want our grocery shelves dominated by “Home Brands” we should be voting with our wallets, driving the dollars back to the big brands. Yet the big brands make us pay 30% more for what is essentially the same product as the “Home Brand” simply because this is how they make lots of money.

Look at your own shopping experience. Would you travel out of your way to buy a particular branded product if the local grocery store didn’t stock or stopped stocking it? Would you continue to go out of your way even after a few months. If you are time poor, you like most others are more likely to pick the easier option, just buy what the store offers.

In Australia the Coles and Woolworths range of “Home Branded” products are taking between 25% and 30% of all grocery sales. This is likely to rise to over 30% as has been seen in other countries like the UK. With a young family, I purchase 9 litres of milk each week. That is three times three litre containers. The difference between buying the “Home Brand” and the market leader is over $1.50 per container, equating $4.50 per week. I personally prefer the taste of the market leader’s milk but until my kids can tell the difference and ask for it, I would rather save the $4.50 per week.

Therefore the market leading retail milk brand in Australia who has spent so much over the years convincing us that their flavour and milk is better is now forced to compete primarily on price. It is a big challenge for them and it will require them to begin to think in a different way so that they can begin to win customers like me back. As I mentioned I prefer their milk but when the economy is facing tough times, we all reign in our spending where we can and make compromises to get by.

A few years ago a similar marketing challenge was presented to Panadol the leading paracetamol brand (head ache relief). A low cost, no frills competitor come into the market saying that it offered the same formula as Panadol without the premium price. Their advertising in fact focused primarily on this point of difference. Same formula, 30% cheaper.

What Panadol did was evolve their product range, developing products that worked quicker “Rapid” and were more focused on specific pain relief (eg kids). They developed marketing campaigns focusing on the tie that many Australians had with the brand and how they used it for specific pain relief. They used some real customers and made their advertisements focus on “testimonial.”

To date it has worked and Panadol is once again selling well. Whilst the other brand is still around, it hasn’t been seen on TV for years.

Statistics Programming – Easing the Pain

Different sets of software are being developed everyday just to ease man with some of his technical works such as in the field of business. These programs are specially designed to make high speed calculations and analysis of the data and come up with a soft copy of information output that can be used instantaneously after the software processes it. Statistics is one of the most complicated clerical works of anyone who is studying or working in the field of economics, politics and even social matters. Statistics is deemed to be of importance because it gives a type of descriptive conclusion or interpretation that can be very precise depending upon the quality of data that has been gathered and the competence that is given to organize, interpret and represent that data. But even with the level of competence that a person has with regards to his statistical skills, there is still a probability that a miscalculation might be made and alter the holistic outcome of the statistics.

However, because of the rapid advancements of technology and the evolution of the functions that can be performed by the humble computer software developers has come up with a certain software program that can make ease any statistician of all their statistical tasks. The development of a program that is able to perform the task of organizing and interpreting statistical data was q revolutionary breakthrough when it comes to statistical analysis help. Statistics programming is defined as the systematic calculation of all the numerical data that has been downloaded into the system wherein it is organized basing upon the categories. These categories are classified upon the nature of the data that has been downloaded. After the process of organizing the data, it will be then interpreted numerically. This function of statistical programming helps to lessen the burden of work and also to maximize the output of a statistician.

Statistical program is composed of sets of languages. There are a total of 17 categories in a statistical program and these are the following;
• Analytica, ADMB
• Gretl, GAUSS
• Mathematica
• OxMetrics
• Quantum (Programming Language)
• Programming Language, SPSS, Symbolic Data Analysis, Sysquake, SAS (software and language), Speakeasy(Computation), SHAZAM (Software)
• World Programming System
• XLispStat

Each of these categories of Statistics Programs has their own unique sets of functions. Each one of it is capable of performing specific functions about statistics. The MATRIX LAB is one of the statistics programs that are widely used today. It is a program that is provided by a certain company that is said to be fully capable of solving ad coming up with solutions with regards to any mathematical or numerical problems that are fed into it. The MATLAB assignment helps not only statistics but also other aspects that majorly require the use of mathematical equations and solving. Because of these software programs, statisticians are given more time to pay attention to other details of the data and leave the organization and the interpretation of it to the statistics software.

Where to Shop on Sanibel Island

If your favorite hobby is shopping, you won’t be disappointed while shopping on Sanibel Island. There are many shops tucked away all over the island. The stores feature gifts, t-shirts and souvenirs or you can go upscale with designer fashions and jewelry. Sanibel has a little bit of everything for every taste and style.

One of my favorite places to shop is the Seahorse Shopping Plaza on Periwinkle Way. There are two stores that are quite special and fun to shop or browse. One store is the Sporty Seahorse, which has gift items and a large clothing area for men and women. If you are looking for great beach sandals or summer shoes you will not be disappointed. The other shop is Tuttle’s. It’s a small shop but fun, featuring jewelry, unique gifts and t-shirts. The owner has been living on Sanibel Island for over 37 years and is a lot of fun to speak with while shopping in his store.

The Tahitian Gardens is another shopping complex located on Periwinkle Place. There are many unique shops to visit while walking undercover from shop to shop. There are
two restaurants in this complex which allows for the convenience of shopping and eating!

You can’t go to Sanibel Island without visiting Jerry’s. There is a tropical garden on the first level of this complex with exotic birds in large cages. Quite a site to see! There is a grocery store but also many retail shops. Jerry’s is a great place to do your grocery shopping and find a gift to take home, t-shirts or other items for the beach.

One of my favorite places to “bum” is Winds on Periwinkle Way. The shop has a huge selection of beach towels, t-shirts, custom t-shirts, beach shoes, umbrellas and gift items. It is a great place to spend time before or after eating dinner.

The largest shopping plaza on Sanibel Island is Periwinkle Place. There is a large parking area and multiple restaurants to get a meal or snack while shopping. Periwinkle Place is located on Periwinkle Way. It has covered walkways (which is great if the weather is not cooperating!) throughout the entire shopping area. It has a park-like environment which is very pleasant. The shops are numerous and you can find just about anything here. There are many upscale gift and clothing stores. Plus, I have found quite a few great t-shirts here too!

The newest place to shop and browse on the island is Mango Bay, which is also on Periwinkle. It features an extensive selection of beach wear, shoes, sunglasses and gift items. It’s a fun and open store to shop and walk around. They have a large children’s section too, including clothing and toys.

You will not be disappointed shopping on Sanibel Island. Just stay on Periwinkle Way and discover all the unique shops and stores that Sanibel has to offer!