by Natalie Bell
Take a good look at the map above -- I bet you will be surprised. Did you know that the majority of these small goods are owned by ten corporations? This graphic comes is from the French blog Convergence Alimentaire. The blog gives explains the impacts of having a small number of companies own a large number of brands -- environmentally, economically, politically, and consumer-wise. What we PR/Marketing people think of is how the companies survive if they are selling their own similar brands as competitors.
For instance, take a look at Proctor & Gamble. They own multiple types of laundry detergents -- each of whom compete against the others for consumers, at least from the outside. Taking a deeper look into the detergents, however, each brand features a different benefit. Tide is the classic detergent that focuses on cleanliness of washed clothes; Gain targets people who are highly concerned about the scent of washed clothes; Downy attracts consumers with a priority for soft washed clothes. By advertising each brand as being the best for each purpose, Proctor & Gamble ensures that, in the end, their company gets almost all detergent revenues.
Other companies are doing the same thing: Pepsico owns five fast food chains, but they all have unique menus from the others. Coca-Cola sells three different energy drinks all targeting different audiences. These products do not have extreme differences. So what makes them different in our minds? Marketing, my friends, marketing. Creating unique ideas for each brand makes the products unique to consumers. Without this created brand image detergents would all seem the same. Energy drinks would be the same. Marketing allows for choices and preferences between similar products, and what kind of world would we be in without choices?