Moments + Movements: Edumacation is expensive, but...

While sitting at the Private Brand Conference, listening, learning and discussing we had many interesting thoughts about how brands lead, the role of private brands, the differences and about how we as consumers of brands become educated.

It was once stated to me by a veteran marketer that "educating the consumer" is expensive and he wanted nothing to do with it. I nodded my head in a basic understanding kind of way, then set out to explore it further. Consider the old story of McDonalds vs Burger King and how they both determine a location to put the next burger joint.

McDonald's has a large department of smart, expensive people to identify the exact place and time when and where a McDonald's restaurant should appear.

Burger King puts one right across the street from every McDonald's. Simple, genius and inexpensive.

The difference?

Leadership often requires a brand to take on a teaching role. Consider a new product / brand entering the market as a way to look at this idea.

Maybe its a new food item. The leading brand has to educate the potential pool of shoppers on how to use it, when to serve it, who would like it and all the other essentials.

Or the easier one to consider is a new technology. Like a portable tablet from Apple [think iPad]. Apple has the obligation to teach people how to use it, what it works nicely for, and all the other details that come from ownership.

But, the obligation of teaching in a leadership role comes with benefits, right? Certainly does.

If you train someone on how to interface with a tablet, you set the standard. And, if you had an Apple product first and then interacted with any other tablet or smartphone from other manufacturers you immediately sense what's missing. Apple ruins you for any other similar technology. Same goes for a food item if done right, or any other leader who takes the position and educates the consumer to their unique offering.

So what does this mean for private brands?

The additional margin gained by investing in a private brand could easily go to the bottom line, investors, members or promoting other categories. Or, it could go into leading the category. It likely doesn't mean coming out with the next iPad, but it could mean taking a leadership position after a certain amount of maturity in the category.

Education is expensive, early on yes. But after the category matures, incremental innovation requires less education and creates an opportunity for private brands to lead. Not as the least expensive, but as the most usable, visually appealing, or shopper centered.

Consider this when you're putting together your private brand strategy.

Leadership is how you define it and when you achieve it.


And, with this we would like to thank The Private Brand Conference coordinators, My Private Brand and all the talented speakers who contributed great content, thinking, visual eye candy and inspiration for the attendees.

We hope to see you all someday soon.

Managing Principal

Edumacation is my idea of funny.

If you've enjoyed our posts, we hope to be back next year and in the mean time you can find more at the Capsule Blog (



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