Business, Consumer, Guyana, Industry

The market is in shock. Your brand? Caught in the middle of course.

VAT is here and as per expected, everywhere is swarming with angry, price-conscious shoppers in fear. Most products they usually bought on a normal day has suddenly now fallen off the list – thanks to the ‘C-Tax + VAT’ policy the majority of businesses insist on implementing; a decision I found to be grossly inconsiderate to consumers, inspite of all arguments considered.

How can our products survive this crazy season of vicious price comparisons and slashing shopping lists? Bite the bullet and strike a compromise! Until your old stock is sold, reduce your profit intake and ensure the discount passes onto your customer. If you don’t, your product may very well never be sold before its expiry date.

“It’s still selling, but at a slower than normal pace?” Sure… but think! In the meanwhile, during that slow-coaching, you stand the chance of loosing precious customer loyalty to lesser competitive brands since demand is not likely to decline in the segment. Shoppers are just looking for a cheaper way out.

So now that time is of the essence and your consumers are undecided? Sell! But sell as if you cared about the long term survival of your brand, its customers, and staying in business. Atleast until this ‘old stock’ grievance has passed and the market has adjusted. Consumer salaries are sadly not going to increase, so they can’t afford to be the understanding ones here even if they wanted to be.

If things were different in Guyana, and we practiced a culture of proper ‘brand building’ from the start, price cuts would never be necessary to survive.

Our stronger brands would have ‘equity’, making them invaluable to consumers. The result: price tags become secondary.

Maybe, VAT’s re-arrangement of the marketplace may help us to faster understand the need for better brand standards. Or atleast, here’s to hoping!

Happy VAT, followed by an interesting New Year.


:: sharon

4 thoughts on “The market is in shock. Your brand? Caught in the middle of course.”

  1. We are happy to see you still posting Sharon. We were wondering after we did not see much activity on the blog for awhile.

    I agree with your suggestion on this VAT thing. In fact, I have a few friends who are business owners that tried that strategy when the VAT was introduced. They are now reaping the benefits of stock well sold and are on their way to clearing new shipments while others are still complaining that “people are not shopping”, “tings slow”.

    On another issue, what do you think of that whole issue recently with Stabroek News and GINA? Who’s side are you on?

  2. I’m still around B … thanks.

    It’s great to hear that those who did the sensible thing are actually doing well. With a simple strategy like that, they really can’t loose in the long run. Think of the good impression that ‘move’ may have created in the mind of consumers (at a time when they felt most businesses were charging them unfairly).

    Hmmm… the GINA and Stabroek News issue? Who’s side am I on? Hahaha, I wonder…

    I would probably have to say Stabroek News. You see, in the usual day to day situation where businesses decide with their agencies and media houses on placement issues, they’re the paying customer, if they wanted to get angry with a particular newspaper and say, “No ads for you Dumbo!”… they probably can… and many of them do. Inspite of how reckless this sort of judgment may be for their brands.

    But unfortunately, the Government of Guyana does not have that prerogative. Especially since they spend the state’s money and they signed to ‘freedom of the press’. Clever argument they’ve adapted on ‘circulation’. But that does not hold up to logic because we have no official circulation records to justify that position.

    And besides, if they were to say, a decision was made in absence of hard facts, the argument still cannot hold because indisputably, it has been established in the industry that Stabroek News commands one of the highest circulation figures in the county. Many of which come from the same areas the Government had a target audience (given the nature of their advertising message at the time).

    As for Stabroek News, they too are probably guilty of some bad PR here and there… explains why they often make enemies. I’ve been told by a wide cross section of the population, that their reporting is not always impartial. Hm, I don’t know… but how could you point a finger at Stabroek News when many of the other local newspapers also tend to be guilty of the same claim?

    In summary, I believe, not everything we disagree with should we undercut as marketers. Our branding responsibilities, if we’re serious about them, require that we be logically and socially correct, beyond our human sentiments, always. For the sake of the brand.

  3. Miss Lalljee,

    All your blogs are well written and precise.

    You would make a good political leader in Guyana but too bad
    you are ahead of your time. Your passion is in the right place but unfortunately the medium is not accommodating of such passion and brilliance.

    Keep up the good work MFGG.

  4. Waw! Thank you for your comments R… I am flattered.

    Did I have such political ambitions, I doubt the rest of Guyana would welcome someone as radical as I to serve them.

    You see, our people love to gaff, “we need young blood”. But if ‘young blood’ were to take the bull by the horns and start making changes that were desperately needed; you would be surprised how quickly they come under scrutiny by the very people they aspire to make life easier for.

    It’s the nature of our people to resist change. We are afraid of it. And it’s that fear that holds us back while the other countries progress.

    Fear… that holds us from approving crowd stopping concepts that shoot our markets into the big league. Distinguishing ourselves from all others, making us brands of our segments.

    What do I do about it? Fight. Until the cows come home atleast.

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