Thursday, March 26, 2009

Premium Brands in a Recessionary Economy

I read an article this week in Business Week about premium brands that despite the ailing economic times are not looking to change their pricing strategy to accommodate financially conservative consumers. Panera Bread and Apple were two examples specifically mentioned in the article. 

The article got me thinking. Who is smarter here (from a marketing perspective)? The companies that are adjusting their prices to reach more consumers or those who refuse to accommodate cash-strapped consumers? Some premium brands like Starbucks have certainly felt the pain of the recession and as such have created new lower-priced product offerings with the hopes of appealing to more people looking for value. 

In my own experience, each time I have been to the mall recently or out to eat it seems everyone is running a sale or special. I think (and I could be wrong here but will say what I think nonetheless) that premium brands who refuse to budge will be hurt by this decision. As more people continue to lose their jobs or fear losing their jobs, savings grow and spending tightens. As spending tightens more people will look for values - particularly premium values.   I guess my thinking here is that even premium brands have to be adaptable to survive in the long run and part of that adaptation is adjusting to economic conditions. 

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