Monthly Archives: November 2014

Do superlatives really build a food brand?

Whether it’s center store or the periphery, food product shelves and displays are overrun with superlatives on food and beverage packaging… the er’s and est’s. Fresher, freshest, bigger, biggest, healthier, healthiest…the list goes on. But, do superlatives really differentiate a brand from its competitors, or is there a more relevant brand story to be told?

The real downside to relying on superlatives to build a brand is that once you go from er to est, what’s left?  Repetitively making improvements to a brand for the sake of broadcasting those changes with er and est messages on redesigned packaging can not only begin to fall on deaf consumer ears, it can also move a brand away from its core equity. There should be a strategic direction that drives brand improvements beyond keeping pace with the competition. The message can then focus on the  brand’s benefits to consumers rather than the “me too” er and est superlatives.

Food brand stakeholders need to consider that er and est do not always motivate consumers. Consumers are continually redefining what superlative means to them personally and what it means to them relative to differing food brand categories. What was considered superlative 10, 5 or even 1 year ago may no longer be relevant as consumer value sets continue to evolve. The er and est superlatives may be currently relevant to some brands, but given the constant shift of consumer focus, the er and est strategy will eventually run its course.

A continuing quest to better the competition with er and est claims is not a sustainable brand strategy. Brands that focus on their core strengths and make brand improvements based on meeting strategic objectives, are better poised for growth and market success.

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