Brands are not always better

Just a quick thought on the value illusion of brands.  And, with that strike through I probably have made my point and don’t need to say anything further.  I will keep talking anyway.

We taste tested a dozen or so vanilla extracts and pastes the other day.  At first, we tried tasting them straight but that was completely unhelpful and kind of gross.  So, we made a very big batch of whipped cream and added equal parts of the extracts and the pastes to small batches of cream.  That did the trick.

We figured that the brands with elegant packaging would beat out the more generic looking brands.  They didn’t.  Those yellow bottles in the middle cost about half the price but they are more pure and certainly more tasty than the more expensive and elegantly packaged bottle on the right.

Brands always provide increased value to somebody.  If they are actually better quality product they naturally provide value for the customer.  But if it is just a fancy label on a generic product the only value they provide is to the pocket of the producer.  Without actually knowing the products, it is impossible to tell whether the brand is worth the extra money.  In the case of these vanilla extracts it is most certainly not.  In the next couple weeks, we will start selling the more generic-looking vanilla extracts.  People will be attracted by the price, but turned off by the packaging.  But we can feel good about selling these vanilla extracts and that certainly provides value … to me.

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