A Little Cachet Can Go A Long Way In Beef Sales

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For the fashionable, there is a big difference between designer jeans and a pair of denim pants.

Although the fabric, which is cotton, may be the same in both, it is the style and the status of the designer jeans that makes them more sought after. In other words, the sale is driven by the label, not the quality, durability or value.

Recent research has confirmed that folks buy what makes them feel important, even if they had to use a credit card to do so. In experiments, those wearing designer labels on clothing were rated as smarter, richer and more suitable as an employee. Even in canvassing for charity, a designer label on the canvasser produced twice the amount of charitable giving as the same person, in the same shirt, with the label removed. The Dutch-based research also found designer labels make people more trustworthy.

I don t own a pair of designer jeans nor will I ever justify that expenditure, but I have seen the difference that appearances make. Even when shopping for clothes, the better dressed I am, the more service and attention that is given to me. There is an assumption that I would not buy a nice item if I don t already have one on. It is a sad statement of our society when we are judged by the label on our clothing, but it is a glorious day for marketers who are gleefully tapping into the new sense of value that consumers have. Marketing is about the label, which we now wear on the outside, not the inside, of our clothes.

In the beef industry, each province spends money on domestic programs promoting their beef. Familiar ones are Alberta Beef, Ontario Corn-Fed Beef and Atlantic Tender Beef. These initiatives, along with private branding, take full advantage of the consumer s drive to buy the label. If they sense that there is a relationship between the label and their portrayal of status that is important to them. With food, and beef included, they also have an underlying desire to know where and how the product is created.

Interestingly, one of the main motivators at the beef counter today is an animal welfare claim on the label. This is a bit of an irony as designer jeans that are produced in a sweat shop under questionable humane conditions, sell regardless of the production, whereas the label on food is sought for assurance of content, origin and humane handling of the live animal.

If it sounds confusing, it is. Current research from American consumer groups makes it very clear that buyers at the retail meat shelf are suffering from label confusion. This is understandable as one branded product may carry eight labels claiming different attributes. After pacing the floor in front of the meat shelf, the confused consumer now defaults to what they know they do not want and that is beef produced with growth promotants, which shows that labels can influence buying for positive and negative reasons.

For international and domestic trade, Canada has the Canada Beef logo. It is backed by the claim of Beef that is nutritious and produced according to world-class quality and safety standards. Canadian beef comes exclusively from cattle raised and processed in Canada. This is our label to the world the one instantly identifiable piece that gives us designer status.

Even denim pants have a label, but that does not mean they sell for $300 as the designer jeans do. And today, although cotton is the main material, denim (which is technically one coloured thread and one white thread) is now called jeans, which is two threads of the same colour. Levi Strauss started making what we know today as the blue jeans with denim in 1873, and in 1886 he branded his jeans with the two horse stitch on the pocket. It wasn t until 1936 that the red tab label was attached on the outside of the jeans so they could be identified at a distance.

Although Levi s have been the working man s jeans for 138 years, they are now considered designer jeans. How did they do it? Levi knew their label was recognized worldwide but needed a competitive advantage to break into the designer mindset. To do this they created Dockers and the new Curve ID profile which allows each client to match the jeans to their body shape. In addition, creative marketing released solely on Facebook drew 7.2 million people to voice their love of Levi s jeans.

For the Canadian beef industry this is about choices. We can remain a denim pant and hope for buyer loyalty or create a designer jeans that fits the customer and then take that label to the masses via social media. Like the honourable Levi s or other designer labels, Canadian Beef too can be perceived as purchased by one who is smarter, richer and more trustworthy. Individual provinces and enterprises can still do their own thing in the free marketplace, but let us all use the Canada Beef logo so consumers feel as comfortable and assured buying beef as they do when they put on a favourite pair of Levi s.

BrendaSchoeppisamarketanalystandtheownerandauthorofBEEFLINKTM,anationalbeefcattlemarketnewsletter.Aprofessionalspeakerandindustrymarketandresearchconsultant,sheranchesnearRimbey,Alberta.brenda. [email protected]

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CanadianBeeftoo canbeperceivedas purchasedbyonewho issmarter,richerand moretrustworthy.

About the author

AF Columnist

Brenda Schoepp

Brenda Schoepp works as an international mentor and motivational speaker. She can be contacted through her website at www.brendaschoepp.com. All rights reserved.

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