You can’t out-private-label private-label: Tom Fishburne

A long-overdue post with some genius from Tom Fishburne, the "Management Cartoonist" (great personal brand proposition by the way). This time, looking at how to grow during and after the recession.

1. Focus on being meaningful:
Firstly, a post and cartoon from Tom that reminds us of the risks of only responding by getting down and dirty on price and promotion.
Picture 3
Price is part of value, for sure. And some brands may have got greedy during the good times, and need to get prices back closer to private label.

But, the most important part of value is what you offer. Tom is on the button by suggesting: "The only long-term solution is to ensure that your brand is truly meaningful."

He then goes on to make a point that we have covered in previous posts as well: "The recession will be a litmus test for meaningful brands. 
If a brand is close enough to private label that consumers will easily
trade down, it's time to re-evaluate what is being offered."

2. innovate your way through and out of the recession
Leading on from this is Tom's second post, about the need for us to get past denial and anger about the hard times, and move on to winning in the downturn by innovating:
Picture 2

He also shares this great series of posters which I love. The first one is a World War II poster which captures superbly the "stiff upper lip" of the British. The second and third ones are parodies.
Picture 1
The on the right, "Get Excited & Make Things", created by Matt Jones, sums up well what brands need to do. We need to innovate our way out of the mess. But, this is innovation with a small "i", not BIG Innovation that requires heavy investment.

"Small i" innovation means looking at improving every bit of your marketing mix, especially those bits that are free. For example, Jordans Cereals are using their website to sell, not just tell, by encouraging extended use of their products.