Confessions of a legal Counterfeiter – No-Name Generics . . . Getting Ahead in a Bad Economy

It was the late 1970’s and we had just introduced No-Name Generics to the United States.   The economy was in a hugeNo-Name Generic Beer downturn.  Sound familiar?  The concept had not caught on yet and these products were stuck in an extra corner of the grocery store somewhere.  Within months we would be a household name. . . . but now we had (forgive the pun) no-name.

What were some of the things that got us moving?  What could you use in your business today to not only survive, but to prosper?

1. Stand out!!!!!!!

White cans with black lettering on them.  No pictures, no color, no graphics or design.  Our No-Name Generics were the ultimate stand out product message.  As ugly as they were, we lived by the old saying that “even a baboon is beautiful to its mother.”

2. Live off the land.

We had a chance to buy the last of several thousand cases of prune juice bottles.  We filled them with fancy grade A apple juice and became number 2 in the market in weeks because of a cheap price from the inexpensive glass bottles and the price savings that were passed onto the customer.

3. Grow or Die.

We had about 100 items available and I told my cohort in crime that maybe we ought to slow down on introducing new catagories.  He said, “if you are not growing, then you are dying.”

4. Stealth Keeps You From Getting Shot Down.

When you are successful, you tend to want to brag and share your success with others.  We did NOT talk to our competition ever.  No coffee shops.  No chit chat in the reception areas of the Food Retailers.  They couldn’t figure out who was taking them to the cleaners.  No names or faces to shoot at.   To the customers we were VERY visible.  But talking to the competition (and with hundreds of items in every category) every other salesman was the competition.

5. Make Sure Your Content Is Good

No-name products were known as sub par in quality.  But that was not true.  We knew that once you put out a bad product, people would not come back.   The quality of these products were surprising good.  Some of them might not be the quality of the national brands, but they were good non the less.  Some were equal OR BETTER than the national brand (some were the national brand repackaged).

6. Expect Success

You have to champion a great idea BEFORE it becomes successful.  If you are going along with everyone else then you are an also ran.  But to be massively successful, you have to take the road that no one has traveled and then trust in your judgment that you will succeed given time and work.

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