A Brand Versus a Commodity

June is National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month, and it’s a great time to focus on the value of a brand. Let’s face it. Most consumers go into their local supermarket and buy bananas, apples, lettuce and eggplants. Do they look for branding on the products they buy? Probably not.

One of the problems that has faced the produce industry for years has been the commoditization of the products. Ask a consumer, and they may tell you that a gala apple is a gala apple, and a roma tomato is a roma tomato. But if you ask about bananas, they may sale Chiquita, Dole or GROW bananas. Mention oranges, and people immediately think of Sunkist. These companies have all made a strong, concerted effort to avoid being lumped into the commodity pile, and to stand apart from just any old fruit or vegetable. And for all of them, it has been a very successful venture.

Branding any product is making a promise of quality that the consumer can expect. If the shopper is looking for a computer and goes to the Apple store, they do so with an expectation of what they will find – and their expectations are usually realized. In the same way, if a consumer buys a GROW banana or a Malena eggplant, they expect flavor, nutrition and an attractive piece of produce.  And they may expect something more, because they know, like the buyer of Tom’s Shoes, that if they buy the GROW banana, they will be providing a benefit to an underprivileged child somewhere in the banana producing region. 

A brand promise and positioning can involve many different things. But in order to avoid being just a commodity and have the market control your pricing, every product should think about what differentiates them from the competition.  That differentiator should be an important point in your marketing, because it’s a promise of something that makes you unique, and upon which the consumer can depend.

So before you say no to branding because your organization is more production oriented, stop and think about what makes your company different. That thing that is unique to you could be what you sell, how you sell it, how you think it should be used, or the good things you do to support the community or save the world. They all count as important points in branding. By taking those things that make you unique and telling the world about them, you will have a way to become known, to grow, and to increase your sales success several times over. 

Enjoy June as the month long celebration of National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month.  


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