At the recent International Egg Commission  Conference, Dr. Jan-Benedict Steenkamp shared his views on branding, emphasizing “strong brands don’t just happen; they are created.”

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He maintained that branding eggs represents a practical alternative to store-designations since consumers invariably seek out brand names to simplify the purchase process. Since most consumers make a purchase decision within 20 seconds, it is important for brands to be featured on packs. In addition, product attributes including nutritional content should also be clearly visible.

Brand promotions can be extremely effective, providing consumers can appreciate the attributes of the product. Competitive advantages accrue to successful brands despite the costs associated with advertising. Steenkamp maintains brand promotion is most effective in concentrated markets such as the major metropolitan areas of the U.S.

With the supermarket industry representing an oligopoly in the U.S. and the EU, and the inclinations of multinationals toward store brands, producers must be flexible and prepared to sell both generic and premium products to the major chains. At the end of the day, the reality is that supermarkets own their shelves. They are, however, prepared to sell both specialty and store brands in response to consumer demand since customers loyal to a specific brand may fill their weekly baskets at a competing store with broader offerings.

Of special importance to the U.S. industry is the distinction between generic and brand promotion. Steenkamp recognizes the role generic promotion may have in dispelling misconceptions among consumers. A specific example is the work of the American Egg Board in removing the stigma of cholesterol from eggs.