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What Stonyfield, Method, and Green Mountain Roasters Know (and You Should, Too)

by Ted Mininni  |  
January 26, 2010

If, as recent research at Young & Rubicam indicates, most brands are like bubbles that are about to burst, marketers need to retrench and change their MO—and fast.

The problem: Consumer spending was down even before the recession. Concurrently, branded product offerings have exploded in the marketplace, many becoming quickly commoditized. Brand trust has rapidly eroded as more companies engaged in unethical behavior. As a result, consumers have become jaded. They've lost loyalty to brands.

Research has found that consumers have decided that most brands don't matter, signifying a newly empowered consumer.

Internet brand and product research, and opinion-sharing with online communities, offer a wealth of information that was unavailable in the past, thus building a new consumer equation. The upshot: Consumers are now firmly in control of brands.

So, is it surprising that the same old marketing tactics and approaches to packaging and advertising are failing to reach consumers?

Let's focus on packaging. As a design-firm principal who has been involved in package design for two decades, I can see that in a newly emerging marketplace the same old marketing tactics and approaches aren't working now and won't in future.

It's disquieting when companies seek new or revitalized package-design solutions for their products but take the same approach to their overall branding efforts.

When properly developed, packaging refers back to the brand. But if a brand has lost its relevance, has never established clear differentiation, needs to reconnect with consumers, or has become a commodity, simply refreshing its packaging is not likely to lead to the desired results.

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Ted Mininni is president of Design Force, Inc. (, a leading brand-design consultancy to consumer product companies (phone: 856-810-2277). Ted is also a regular contributor to the MarketingProfs blog, the Daily Fix.

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