The Dangers of Brand Substitutions

No business, no matter what size or which product or service, can afford to ignore the potential dangers of brand substitutions.

            Brand substitutions occur when a consumer cannot get the brand she or he is used to buying and chooses a “next best alternative†brand to replace it.

            Brands are used by their owners to attempt to capture a share of a buyer category. For consumers, they make finding favorite products and services easy and convenient.

            Small business outlets are often the owner/manager’s brand. The service, image, or reputation are characteristics of a service company’s brand. Even the image, name, and platform become the brand of a politician or political party.

            Out-of-stock situations are frequent causes for brand substitute. If the consumer can’t get the preferred brand, she or he may need a substitute because the benefits of the product or service category are needed or desired.

            Capturing potential buyers and users is a major goal and challenge for marketers. Retaining consumers is easier and cheaper than obtaining new ones.

            Here is a simple example of how brand substitutions happen:

            The deli at a local grocery store is well-known for its takeout fried chicken. Deli workers make a batch at 11:30 and run out of fried chicken at 12:15, — at the start of peak lunch demand. The deli then tells all potential buyer it is out of fried chicken, will put more on to fry, and it will be ready in half an hour.

            This is fixable ineffective inventory management. Lunchtime workers who can’t wait, buy from another retailer, and it becomes their favorite.