Copycat branding goes beyond packaging
• Fume at the blatant plagiarism
• See it as a smart alternative
• Bristle at being called a cheat
• Pride yourself on getting away with it
• Be flattered by the compliment
The major multiple retailers have been long been accused of copying well-known grocery brands and some commentators claim that despite past reassurances to the contrary, many continue.
There’s no denying the fact that there are own label packs on shelf which bear a striking resemblance to branded products; I found examples of mayonnaise, anti dandruff shampoo, cereals and sanitary towels in two stores.
Last week I presented a brand design agency perspective on copycat branding at a conference held by Exova (industry advisers ensuring products are legally compliant.) It struck me during the question and answer session that there is still confusion as to what can legally be claimed as an ownable design equity and what is simply part of the category language. It is a challenge not just felt by own label. In targeting a similar audience with a similar message isn’t it only natural that both Nivea and Sure/Rexona have adopted similar styling on the packaging of silver variants?
Bespoke physical packaging has in the past offered some degree of protection given the high levels of cap ex involved, which many retailers are unwilling to invest. Such measures also offer other benefits such as an improved user experience or increased revenue from new usage occasions. But it doesn’t half cost.
The real challenge for brands at risk of copying is to build such a strong emotional bond with consumers that anything less is just a cheap imitation. Packaging is only part of the problem. In a world of fragmented media recognising and knowing how to use your brand’s equities, in a memorable and appropriate ways across multiple channels, is key.
Feel free to connect with Nick Gray via LinkedIn for more info, and watch this space for a synopsis of the Exova Conference presentation.
In: Retail, Seminars/talks, Viewpoints · Tags: CopyCat branding, Own Label, Packaging