Magazine article Marketing

Losing an Exclusive Cachet

Magazine article Marketing

Losing an Exclusive Cachet

Article excerpt

It has never been possible to separate price and image. The pendulum of emphasis has swung from one to other according to circumstances, but most marketers take it for granted that every price also has a message. Things are seen to be cheap and cheerful, value for money, exclusive etc.

Usually manufacturers and distributors see eye to eye on price/image positioning. High margin quality manufacturers like to sell their goods through stores with an upmarket feel. And vice-versa. Despite the recession and the recent craze for price promotion this unstated consensus has held.

But now there are signs that it is falling apart. Superdrug's decision to start discounting "upmarket" perfumes has placed retailer power head to head against manufacturers in what amounts to a fundamental challenge to their branding strategy.

Of course, Superdrug may not get away with it. The perfume houses may find a way of shutting down their European supply sources. And the price/image link may be stronger than Superdrug feels: perhaps consumers just won't feel right buying "exclusive" goods cheaply from a "downmarket" high street shop. They may even think the stuff is counterfeit.

On the other hand, the perfume houses could have a big problem on their hands. …

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