The Private Label Challenge

Going Beyond the Health Headline

At the OTC National Conference in Philadelphia last month Brian Levy spoke about the evolution of health & wellness marketing.

Private label brands were the hot topic of conversation at the conference. They represent a significant threat for marketers in many categories, but particularly in OTC, where consumers see house brands of common OTC medications as not just less expensive than their branded counterparts, but also just as safe and effective. And high-profile brand recalls, like we’ve seen recently with Tylenol, make the challenge even more intense.

So how do you ward off the private label threat? The answer is the same regardless of whether you are marketing an OTC brand or a food brand. Research suggests that consumers are less willing to choose the private label alternative for brands they perceive to have high health & wellness value. If you can imagine a scale from “interchangeable commodity” all the way up to “unique health & wellness value,” the higher consumers place your brand on that scale, the less likely they are to chose the private label alternative.

In good measure, moving your brand up that value scale is about creating the right healthy context for consumers. We call it going beyond the health headline, and that was the topic of Brian’s presentation at the conference.

Going beyond the health headline means:

  • Adding meaningful value to consumers’ health & wellness efforts
  • Explaining the how and why of your brand to create a rationale for product use
  • Educating broadly and holistically about the relevant health topic

A health claim or clearly defined benefit statement are invaluable, but they are no longer sufficient. Consumers now demand more. You need to help them understand how your brand fits into their healthy lifestyle. Only then can you highlight the unique health & wellness value your brand offers and move yourself up that health value scale.

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