Generic is the New Brand Name: Tapping Influencers to Boost In-House Brands
While stores like Trader Joe’s have crafted entire business models (and built cult followings) on store brands, generic products from retailers like Sephora have to compete against high-end national brands. In-house products may offer wider variety and lower price points, but because they’re often situated in the rear of the store and the bottom of the page, they lose the real estate game and the attention of consumers.
Influencers are an excellent way to bring in-house brands to the forefront of the retail experience. To consumers, influencers are trusted subject matter experts; for retailers, they're ambassadors and influential partners that can spotlight in-house brands to their many loyal followers.
If you’ve recently logged onto YouTube in search of product reviews, you may have noticed "dupe" videos. These helpful clips show bloggers featuring cheaper, equally effective duplicates for common products. They’re also evidence of a market of consumers seeking high-quality, low-cost products, and an opportunity for retailers with in-house brands to build a loyal audience.
While name brands are aspirational, they’re becoming less important to younger audiences who wish to spend their money on experiences rather than things. In addition, as fast fashion and a lightning-fast tech industry boom, things once considered luxury now seem commonplace — and easily accessible without sacrificing function or aesthetic.
Many retailers don’t put marketing efforts behind their house brands to actively compete against household name brands, but see below for three ways you can help your products push through:
1. What happens online doesn’t have to stay online: When you’ve effectively secured influencer partners, it turns into a mutually convenient relationship. Help boost their profile by featuring their endorsement in-store and online. This strategy integrates the influencer into the retail experience even when users aren’t on social media, and builds an authenticity around your product.
2. Give incentives to viewers: Encourage customers to engage with influencer-created content featuring in-house brands by offering a percentage off of their next purchase. If the product feature is appealing and aspirational, followers may be compelled to forego other brands for yours when using their discount.
3. Everyone wants to be a winner: Have influencers host contests inviting their followers to use your product for a prize. This will help drive consumers to purchase, and have direct results on the commerce pipeline.
In-house brands are often well-crafted and comparable to items sold at higher price points. That puts influencers in the unique position where they can truly elevate these generic brands to break through to a variety of otherwise untapped audience segments.
Erin Ledbetter is the senior vice president of Carusele, a company that creates and distributes organic social media content for leading brands and retailers.