To demonstrate the power of branding: our anticipations, perceptions and expectations of a product, we conducted a blind tasting using 4 different brands of chocolate. They were Cadburys, Thornton’s, Green & Blacks and Tesco’s.
The result of the blind tasting clearly displayed the power of branding and proved that, thanks to advertising, some brands are perhaps stronger than the product itself. In the case of Cadbury, which is long established, traditional and evokes childhood memories, there is a strong brand loyalty. The colour purple for example is synonymous with the creamy, consistent quality that we know and love.
A brand such as Thornton’s has proved a good example of strong branding promoting a distinctly average product. Thornton’s attempt to give an air of maturity and good reputation, selling themselves as a sort of local chocolatier that can be relied on for special occasions. The truth is that Thornton’s market gimmicky, over-priced, mindless sentiment.
The second-best tasting sample was also the second cheapest. Tesco’s own branded chocolate follows the stores ethos of being “value for money”. It is simple and familiar branding for simple and familiar products. However, this is quite misleading, as most consumers would assume Tesco branded goods to be the cheapest. This perhaps demonstrates a selfish strategy that Tesco has employed in it’s bid to make profits.
Sample number four was Green & Blacks chocolate. Considering it was one of the more expensive samples and sells itself as being sophisticated, indulgent and luxurious, I did not find Green & Blacks as palatable as the other samples. The branding is quite old fashioned and clearly recognises Green & Blacks eco-friendly and charitable acclaim which I find to be a strong selling point but as a result may give the product an air of snobbery.
This branding exercise has shown me that the general public is relatively fickle when it comes to their brands. Brand loyalty does exist, however I’ve learnt that the most expensive is not always the best. Due to brand strategy, people will opt for a specific brand simply thanks to celebrity endorsement, advertising or sponsorship. The brand itself is hugely responsible for the success of the product. Brand power is relevant today more than ever – with so much competition and the speedy advances in technology, it is paramount that a brand is adaptable.