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Mukund Mohan K
http://www.browneandmohan.com
“ N O B R A N D I N G ”
S T R A T E G Y , T H E N E W
F R O N T I E R ! !
So, what is driving “no brand” market?. There are both
economic and social factors at play. There is more to
minimal movement than cost. According to Federal
Reserve, the national student debt reached $1.6 trillion in
June 2019, with 2 in 10 who took on education debt still
owe money are missing on their payments. Pew Research
Centre analysis reveals that the number of adults (18-24)
residing with one or both parents has reached 52% in
September 2020. In fact, the share of young adult living
with parents saw decline only during 1950-60’s, has been
rapidly raising in the last decade and hovering around 40%
in 2019. Generation Z (those born after 1996, nearly 68
million in US alone) are likely to be more college educated,
more tech friendly than Millennials (those born during 1981-
1996).
02 | Browne & Mohan
In recent years, many companies are turning their back on “brand investment” and
aggressively pursuing what is known as "no brand" strategy. Examples include Muji (the
Japanese multi-products store), Tapa Amarilla (Venezuela’s cleaning company), Emart
(Korea’s super store), The Unbranded Brand (Montreal’s famous Jean’s company),
Brandless (SF based e-com player), Glossier (US beauty brand), M/F People (US clothing
brand), The ordinary (US based face care brand) and many more. Amazon, Alibaba, Shop
clues and many other e-com stores support listing and trading of “no brand” products
on their platforms.
The core of "no branding" strategy is to let the
product speak for itself, save $$$ on campaigns and
shelf space rents, use a Words of mouth (WOM)
approach supported by an aggressive pricing
strategy. These companies focus on delivering low
price, high quality products. Their marketing budgets
are low while their product investments are higher.
While some of the companies may showcase logo’s,
many sell their products with no logos at all. Their
products come in very aesthetically appealing
packaging with natural colours and minimalist
design taking the centre stage. The strategy is to
eliminate all that is unnecessary about branding and
offer a better product at a better price.
http://www.browneandmohan.com
Millennials and Generation Z’s disdain for pricey
national brands is evident across different product
categories. Food, travel, fashion, footwear,
cosmetics, insurance, home textile, home décor,
luggage, (sun) glasses, and furniture. They are very
likely to purchase a product for its functional value
and quality as opposed to status associated with
the logo. Moreover, Generation Z as a subculture is
more attuned to “normcore” view as a sign of
intelligence and confidence. Generation Z and
Millennials are placing a large premium on
products that are comfortable and attractive at
affordable price. With a higher tendency for
countersignalling these generations like to show off
by not showing off.
03 | Browne & Mohan
Shopify’s “Future of Commerce 2021”
report released on 8th Dec 2020 reveals
interesting trends. About half of all global
commerce sales occurring on e-com sites
is happening where consumers are
searching for solutions rather than a
particular brand. About 70% of Amazon
searches do not include a brand name and
nearly 90% of Amazon views result from
search only, not from branded ads or
merchandising. Importantly, 50% of
consumers look for independent owned
businesses to support for reasons
including: supporting entrepreneurship,
purchase unique products and experience
more personalized customer service.
Majority of these are no brands.
With economic constraints limiting the consumer spending and the emerging trend
among consumers with a less interest to spend on private labels, companies have
recognized “generic” is a good strategy to stay simple, unpretentious and yet profitable.
By adopting a simple approach to merchandising and eliminating costs on fancy
packaging, labeling and other paraphernalia companies serve customers exactly what
they need. It is guarantee of a wide variety of high-quality products at affordable prices
that drives the "no brand" led business growth.
http://www.browneandmohan.com
04 | Browne & Mohan
Competing through “no branding” requires companies to adopt a broad based
approach as detailed below.
Keep it simple: stay niche, control growth
It works well when competition focus on multiple product quality indicators and
pricing is not value-based. Companies must offer high value products based on the
value rather than the competition or premium pricing approaches. Deliver high
quality, gender-neutral, high functional product that consumers lover to buy
"No branding" companies fail when they stretch too far and too quick. Pursuing
hyper growth at any cost is what killed Brandless. State what your product is and
stay with it. If it is all-flour mix or an apple sauce, just mention it and do not go
ahead filling white-space around it. Let users know what the functional value of the
product and what they are paying for. Leave the product and customization to them.
Save $$$ by not inserting Cook sheets or recipe books.
http://www.browneandmohan.com
Play quality, price value-based
Be resourceful
While your company may not invest in TV ads or OTT
or Radio, have a strong social media presence to
understand their latent needs, invest in tools and
resources to listen to their comments and design
new products from consumer’s point of view.
Focus on product usage
Eliminate the fatigue consumers face when they
have to search and evaluate overwhelming choices.
Cut the story telling, turn down the noise and let
consumers buy what need. Let the attention be on
the person using your product rather stealing that
attention for your product.
Co-create product, campaigns and community
Key to “no branding” is to let your customers show they
use the product, showcase their personalized avatar’s
using the product to create content and distribute it
widely. Companies have to invest in creative feeds on
Instagram and other channels and inspire others to
participate in community building
05 | Browne & Mohan
Limit product & packaging variety
For companies pursuing “no branding”, packaging comes as lever both to cut costs
through standardization and to communicate their social commitment. Keeping
packaging utilitarian and soothing minimalism than a cacophony of colours and
shapes helps companies state the attributes customer’s care about. For example,
replacing a gluten free packaging to vegan will appeal to their vegan customers
No branding is a strategy that needs
company to carefully think about how
“they stand less”. Of course, it is a risky
strategy. But many Indian companies
have successfully explored this route to
build strong businesses in categories
like children inner wear, nighties,
wallets, etc. All this companies did was
dare to have their customers focus
exclusively on their product, and that is
what makes “no branding” strategy so
unique.
Wherever possible by making all SKU’s in a category priced at a $X eliminates search
and comparison costs for the consumer. Standardize offerings, say a particular
fragrance for all shower solutions, eliminating inventory and search costs.
http://www.browneandmohan.com
High ROI on Packaging real estate
Do not approach “no branding” as a
piece-meal strategy. Instead stitch a
comprehensive strategy centred around
your product, its consumption, alluring
price points, neat and simple packaging
that communicates the values the
brand stands for. Strictly controlling for
any ostentatious features or even
unwanted varieties is a must. "No
branding" can be a blessing for many
resource constraint commodity
manufacturers likely to use e-com sites
for commerce. Executed well it can
drive $$$ to your cash box.

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No branding principles

  • 1. Mukund Mohan K http://www.browneandmohan.com “ N O B R A N D I N G ” S T R A T E G Y , T H E N E W F R O N T I E R ! !
  • 2. So, what is driving “no brand” market?. There are both economic and social factors at play. There is more to minimal movement than cost. According to Federal Reserve, the national student debt reached $1.6 trillion in June 2019, with 2 in 10 who took on education debt still owe money are missing on their payments. Pew Research Centre analysis reveals that the number of adults (18-24) residing with one or both parents has reached 52% in September 2020. In fact, the share of young adult living with parents saw decline only during 1950-60’s, has been rapidly raising in the last decade and hovering around 40% in 2019. Generation Z (those born after 1996, nearly 68 million in US alone) are likely to be more college educated, more tech friendly than Millennials (those born during 1981- 1996). 02 | Browne & Mohan In recent years, many companies are turning their back on “brand investment” and aggressively pursuing what is known as "no brand" strategy. Examples include Muji (the Japanese multi-products store), Tapa Amarilla (Venezuela’s cleaning company), Emart (Korea’s super store), The Unbranded Brand (Montreal’s famous Jean’s company), Brandless (SF based e-com player), Glossier (US beauty brand), M/F People (US clothing brand), The ordinary (US based face care brand) and many more. Amazon, Alibaba, Shop clues and many other e-com stores support listing and trading of “no brand” products on their platforms. The core of "no branding" strategy is to let the product speak for itself, save $$$ on campaigns and shelf space rents, use a Words of mouth (WOM) approach supported by an aggressive pricing strategy. These companies focus on delivering low price, high quality products. Their marketing budgets are low while their product investments are higher. While some of the companies may showcase logo’s, many sell their products with no logos at all. Their products come in very aesthetically appealing packaging with natural colours and minimalist design taking the centre stage. The strategy is to eliminate all that is unnecessary about branding and offer a better product at a better price. http://www.browneandmohan.com
  • 3. Millennials and Generation Z’s disdain for pricey national brands is evident across different product categories. Food, travel, fashion, footwear, cosmetics, insurance, home textile, home décor, luggage, (sun) glasses, and furniture. They are very likely to purchase a product for its functional value and quality as opposed to status associated with the logo. Moreover, Generation Z as a subculture is more attuned to “normcore” view as a sign of intelligence and confidence. Generation Z and Millennials are placing a large premium on products that are comfortable and attractive at affordable price. With a higher tendency for countersignalling these generations like to show off by not showing off. 03 | Browne & Mohan Shopify’s “Future of Commerce 2021” report released on 8th Dec 2020 reveals interesting trends. About half of all global commerce sales occurring on e-com sites is happening where consumers are searching for solutions rather than a particular brand. About 70% of Amazon searches do not include a brand name and nearly 90% of Amazon views result from search only, not from branded ads or merchandising. Importantly, 50% of consumers look for independent owned businesses to support for reasons including: supporting entrepreneurship, purchase unique products and experience more personalized customer service. Majority of these are no brands. With economic constraints limiting the consumer spending and the emerging trend among consumers with a less interest to spend on private labels, companies have recognized “generic” is a good strategy to stay simple, unpretentious and yet profitable. By adopting a simple approach to merchandising and eliminating costs on fancy packaging, labeling and other paraphernalia companies serve customers exactly what they need. It is guarantee of a wide variety of high-quality products at affordable prices that drives the "no brand" led business growth. http://www.browneandmohan.com
  • 4. 04 | Browne & Mohan Competing through “no branding” requires companies to adopt a broad based approach as detailed below. Keep it simple: stay niche, control growth It works well when competition focus on multiple product quality indicators and pricing is not value-based. Companies must offer high value products based on the value rather than the competition or premium pricing approaches. Deliver high quality, gender-neutral, high functional product that consumers lover to buy "No branding" companies fail when they stretch too far and too quick. Pursuing hyper growth at any cost is what killed Brandless. State what your product is and stay with it. If it is all-flour mix or an apple sauce, just mention it and do not go ahead filling white-space around it. Let users know what the functional value of the product and what they are paying for. Leave the product and customization to them. Save $$$ by not inserting Cook sheets or recipe books. http://www.browneandmohan.com Play quality, price value-based Be resourceful While your company may not invest in TV ads or OTT or Radio, have a strong social media presence to understand their latent needs, invest in tools and resources to listen to their comments and design new products from consumer’s point of view. Focus on product usage Eliminate the fatigue consumers face when they have to search and evaluate overwhelming choices. Cut the story telling, turn down the noise and let consumers buy what need. Let the attention be on the person using your product rather stealing that attention for your product. Co-create product, campaigns and community Key to “no branding” is to let your customers show they use the product, showcase their personalized avatar’s using the product to create content and distribute it widely. Companies have to invest in creative feeds on Instagram and other channels and inspire others to participate in community building
  • 5. 05 | Browne & Mohan Limit product & packaging variety For companies pursuing “no branding”, packaging comes as lever both to cut costs through standardization and to communicate their social commitment. Keeping packaging utilitarian and soothing minimalism than a cacophony of colours and shapes helps companies state the attributes customer’s care about. For example, replacing a gluten free packaging to vegan will appeal to their vegan customers No branding is a strategy that needs company to carefully think about how “they stand less”. Of course, it is a risky strategy. But many Indian companies have successfully explored this route to build strong businesses in categories like children inner wear, nighties, wallets, etc. All this companies did was dare to have their customers focus exclusively on their product, and that is what makes “no branding” strategy so unique. Wherever possible by making all SKU’s in a category priced at a $X eliminates search and comparison costs for the consumer. Standardize offerings, say a particular fragrance for all shower solutions, eliminating inventory and search costs. http://www.browneandmohan.com High ROI on Packaging real estate Do not approach “no branding” as a piece-meal strategy. Instead stitch a comprehensive strategy centred around your product, its consumption, alluring price points, neat and simple packaging that communicates the values the brand stands for. Strictly controlling for any ostentatious features or even unwanted varieties is a must. "No branding" can be a blessing for many resource constraint commodity manufacturers likely to use e-com sites for commerce. Executed well it can drive $$$ to your cash box.