11 New Strategic Brand Management by Philip Kotler   4th Edition
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11 New Strategic Brand Management by Philip Kotler 4th Edition

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are used to denote the forms of
distributors\u2019 brands:
I The own brand or private label is a
distributor\u2019s brand that has its own name
and does not generally refer to the
company\u2019s name (for example Miss Helen
for cosmetics at Monoprix, or Jodhpur for
textiles at Galeries Lafayette).
I The counter brand: this word designates
a distributor\u2019s brand, generally a private
label, created to divert clientele from a
particular big brand, by slavishly imitating
all its distinctive traits in order to play on
client confusion and the psychological
principle according to which everything
that looks very much alike is in fact very
similar. Thus each company creates its
counter brand to Ricoré \u2013 Calicoré, Incoré,
etc \u2013 with packaging similar in all respects,
placed just next to the national brand on
the shelf.
I The positioning brand: these are ranges
that, far from being content with offering
the best quality/price ratio, position them-
selves on trends or in the premium
segment. Take for example the Monoprix
brands, such as Monoprix Bio (organic),
Monoprix Equitable (fair trade), Monoprix
Certain stores use their name in all segments:
Figure 4.1 shows how the highly respected
British company uses its name Tesco both for
low-cost products (Tesco Value) and for the
top of the range (Finest) and niches and
trends (Tesco Healthy Eating). Capitalising on
a single name makes the customer\u2019s job easier,
and profits the store, but of course means that
high standards must be achieved in all
segments, even at low prices. French stores
prefer not to run the risk to their reputation,
and do not use their name on the cheapest
Are they brands like the others?
The big brands have long regarded distrib-
utors\u2019 brands with condescension, and would
deny their new type of products the sacred
title of \u2018brands\u2019. That would call their historic
hegemony into question, a kind of lèse-
majesté: until now, the big brands have led the
field and dominated it. For them, stores were
distributors, a revealing term, since it refers
more to logistics and transport than to a
talent for composing an overall offer, for
stage-managing the shelves, for business
through optimisation of the upstream and
downstream. This is why, moreover, stores
insist on being called retailers. The rise of the
distributor\u2019s own brand (DOB) is all the harder
to accept since it signifies the end of a
particular type of marketing (see page 139): it
therefore leads to questions that go far beyond
the problems of gaining market share, of
which companies have not yet taken the full
In order to answer the question of the exact
nature of the distributor\u2019s brand, we can
examine either their management, or their
status among buyers.
Is the distributor\u2019s brand managed
like a manufacturer\u2019s brand?
From a managerial point of view, distributors\u2019
brands are, broadly speaking, brands like any
other. They have all the features of a brand
(thinking of a particular target, selecting a
principal competitor whose clients they will
attempt to steal, defining an offer and a price,
setting themselves up with packaging and
communication) but in addition they have to
respond to two different constraints simulta-
neously. They have to find their place in the
distributor\u2019s marketing mix, in which they
now represent a key component of identity,
differentiation and loyalty generation
(although the effect on customers\u2019 loyalty to
the store has not yet been proven: see
Corstjens and Lal, 2000). And they generally
use price as the driving force behind their own
marketing mix, even when, exceptionally,
they are positioned in a premium segment.
For this reason, management of these
brands does not have the same autonomy as a
producer\u2019s brand. Their image positioning is
based on that of the company. As for their
price positioning, it is generally relative, set
between the two client benchmarks of the big
brand prices and hard-discount product
In formal terms, the distributor\u2019s brand
often takes on the form of the umbrella brand:
Carrefour products, or Auchan or Tesco
products. Admittedly, there are also private
labels that make no reference to the store but
present themselves as isolated, thematic
brands. The hypermarket chain Intermarché
has its own boats and factories: it sells seafood
under the Captain Cook brand, and its
processed meats under the name Monique
Ranoux. Carrefour sells a range of over 100
regional products under the brand Reflets de
France (Reflections of France).
To concentrate on the store brand, also
known as the banner, since it capitalises on
the reputation of the store\u2019s name to define a
tangible offer at the product level, it typically
covers a large number of products, or even
shelves: through its extension, it brings a
service of practicality to the customer, who
can find it by passing from shelf to shelf. It
functions like a common factor, a decisional
marker across the store.
The manufacturer\u2019s brand, on the other
hand, signifies competence: its extension is
therefore necessarily more limited (see
Chapter 13). Fleury Michon, the French
specialist in processed meat and fresh deli-
catessen products, would not dream of selling
jam. The maker\u2019s mark has a trade, an
expertise, and a savoir-faire that underpin its
progress, materialised through innovations.
This does not mean that a distributor\u2019s
brand may serve as an umbrella for anything
and everything. We shall see (in Chapter 13)
that this should be carried out based on a
category that creates reputation (the
prototype) first and foremost for those
products that are considered to be close to
each other, because they are either comple-
mentary or substitutable. Bringing everything
together under the umbrella of a name is not
an end in itself: the brand is there not to save
money, but to create value for customers.
From this point of view, it is revealing that the
big supermarkets develop a portfolio of
umbrella brands, in order to cover the whole
scope of their offer while also seeking the level
and type of client involvement (Kapferer and
Laurent, 1988). At Monoprix Miss Helen is the
feminine beauty and hygiene brand, just as at
Wal-Mart George is the male clothing brand.
In contrast, Monoprix aims to associate its
name with emerging consumer trends:
organic, sustainable development, gourmet,
openness to the world, healthy eating, etc in
the form of \u2018line brands\u2019, as does Tesco
(healthy choice, organic, sustainable devel-
opment etc).
This cross-cutting status of the distributor\u2019s
brand explains the difficulty of managing the
store brand entirely like a brand. In fact, there
is no brand without positioning: thus at
Carrefour First Line was the brand of the most
recent progress in television, hi-fi, white
goods and computing, at the cheapest price.
Among the big distributors, it is still often the
purchasers and not the marketers who have
the power. The former, and this is their key
strength, react by seizing opportunities (an
exceptional lot of goods here, filling a gap in
the range there), and by optimising the
difference between the purchase and the sales
The marketing viewpoint is to install the
necessary brand coherence, which goes far
beyond the logo, in all the aisles. The brand
must not depart from its positioning, its
platform (same price range, same level of tech-
nology, etc). These two points of view are on a
collision course. Often the store brand is asked
to put its name to products that are not
entirely in line with its positioning in order to
avoid having to create an individual marque
for them. Moreover, the distributor\u2019s brand is
subject to the vagaries of sourcing. To return
to First Line, this brand never took off, since
easy as it is to imitate the top-of-the-range