Communication, Design, Gareth Case, Retention, Uncategorized

Why do we buy big brands?

You see them everywhere. Brands, we as consumers trust. And we pay a premium for their products and services even though sometimes the quality is no different. So why do we subscribe to them?

It’s a little thing called ‘Marketing’

I found myself, last week, wondering the isles of Tesco’s for our weekly shop. I headed for the cereals and went for good old Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, to my surprise, they had sold out, none on the shelves and none ‘out the back’. I have grown up believing that if it’s not got Kellogg’s on the box, then it’s not Kellogg’s in the box. Do I opt for the 2nd fiddle Coco Pops or heaven forbid, do I go for Tesco’s own brand flakes of corn?

In a moment or flakey desperation I went for their own brand and to my surprise found them to be less than half the price of Kellogg’s. “They won’t be as good as Kellogg’s” I told myself on the way home. The next morning came and it’s breakfast time. Out came the ‘own branders’ a bottle of milk and a sprinkle of pessimism. Guess what? If I am honest I couldn’t tell the difference. I guess I was a bit surprised. I had spent my whole life subscribing to a brand and therefore paying more than double the going rate for a bowl of cereal and all because of a logo, a slogan and a green cockerel. Now there may well be a difference in the quality of the product but the fact is, I couldn’t tell.

I appreciate this is not always the case. I have driven german cars for the last 8 years. I buy them not for their logo or brand, but because in my opinion they are the best built, the most reliable and still look nice.

Next time you’re in the supermarket, in a car dealership or buying in a B2B environment, evaluate how much markup is put on for the brand that you may not really need to buy in to. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Oh and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for all my latest updates

About garethcase

Gareth Case has more than 12 years experience of marketing in the B2B technology space and has held senior marketing roles at Intermec Technologies, Arc Solutions, Viglen, Athona and now ONI and has experience of working throughout EMEA, North America and APAC. His broad understanding of the full marketing mix combined with a diverse skill set has contributed to the success and growth of his previous employers. Gareth has proven, successful experience in the following marketing disciplines: Offline: Marketing Strategy, Team Leadership, Direct Mail, Campaign Management, Telemarketing, Print Production, Public Relations, Copywriting, Budget Management, Graphic Design, Collateral Design, Presenting. Online: Website Design, Content Management, iPad Toolkits, Social Media, PPC, SEO, Analytics, CRM, E-Marketing, Video. Gareth has experience of working across many vertical markets including Healthcare, Local Government, Education, Finance, Insurance, Manufacturing, Logistics, Retail, Media, Not for Profit and Legal. He has started this blog ‘Inside a Marketing Mind’ to share his experiences and promote debate around the latest marketing innovations. Follow Gareth on Twitter here – http://twitter.com/gareth_case and subscribe to the blog for all the latest updates. For a more detailed synopsis of Gareth’s skills and experience, please visit his blog or LinkedIn page


5 thoughts on “Why do we buy big brands?

  1. Consumers often believe big brands are better. Economically challenged consumers would rather spend more on a “trustworthy or value rich product” than risk their money a less proven brand. It’s risk aversion. Like you described, the store brand may be just as good (or even better), you just have to take the “risk” to try.

    Posted by Francoise | August 31, 2011, 12:00 am
  2. Thought provoking blog….

    In my opinion (I appreciate we must try to see/communicate about the world as it is and not as we are, which is tricky when voicing opinions) we buy big brands as its about ‘ASSOCIATION’ (says something about who we are, what we are, what we stand for, a kind of self-positioning) and ‘TRUST’ (we know/or rather expect, a big brand to be concerned about quality and potential impact on their overall reputation, plus we don’t expect them to go out of business overnight – important with high value transactions, even when paying with VISA, to avoid hassle of claims, messed up holiday plans etc).

    There is much more but I figure these are certainly likely to be among the high ranking reasons. How would I have done on Family Fortunes…? You said….. The 1000 people surveyed said…..

    Best Regards

    Duane Lacey

    Posted by Duane Lacey | September 1, 2011, 6:18 pm
  3. Good blog Gareth,

    After coming from working in a major food manufacturer in the UK that produce for the likes of Tesco, M&S and Waitrose, I can disclose that in a lot of cases 1 company produces both the “brand” and the supermarket equivalent; i.e one of the sites produced both the Cadburys melt in the middle chocolate puddings and the Tesco’s ones, their may be a slight variant in weight or packaging but not usually enough to warrant the difference in price…

    Definitely worth trying the supermarket brand, usually made by the same business and as they monopolised the market, they drive the prices down of the producer.

    Best regards,


    Posted by Karen | September 5, 2011, 3:02 am
  4. By buying Tesco’s own, you were buying a ‘Big Brand’ -and Tesco are very smart at leveraging their brand to get you to try more, buy more & trust them more. As a Tesco Clubcard member I appreciate how they use their knowledge of me to generate personalised, relevant offers, but I have noticed that more of those offers now seem to be for Tesco branded items. How long before Tesco take over the world?

    Posted by Viv | September 15, 2011, 10:23 pm


  1. Pingback: Why do we buy big brands? « NBC, Inc. Daily Meetings - August 31, 2011

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