Brands have dominated a lot of the business news over the last year. On the one hand there have been some pretty huge successes and on the other some catastrophic failures.
2014 saw the continued demise of the Retail brand with Phones 4 U and La Senza both exiting the High St where as online brands dominated yet again with Amazon increasing both their product and service offer.
But for me there has been a clear star that has literally changed peoples perceptions overnight and become one of the most successful brands in the UK. Aldi.
I remember Aldi from my student days, offering me the most cost effective way to sustain some form of nutrition so I could preserve more available funds for essential nights out. They were a means to an end, no frills, basic essentials that had a clear market position. And thatâ€™s where most people thought they would stay.
Little did we know that years later the Sainsburys and Waitrose shopper would be taking their own plastic bags and filling them with Aldiâ€™s finest. It has truly been a transformation like no other.
But the success of Aldi has signified more than just an alternative, cost effective way to enjoy quality food, it has changed the way we shop and has changed our mentality of brand loyalty.
Shopper behavior has traditionally been set by demographic, people shop where they can afford to shop. But as the recession hit, everyone felt the impact and we all looked for ways to save money without compromising on quality. The Aldi effect has created a new behavior pattern in shopping trends.
As shoppers we now have less loyalty to one or two brands. We are happy to forego the ease of shopping under one roof and have become quite happy to shop around, mixing bargain products with mid to high end brands. This has had a huge impact on the â€˜one stop shopâ€™ concept of Tesco who have again announced a fall in profit for the second year running.
We are also happy to say we are saving moneyâ€¦ we are proud to brag about that bargain dress from Primark or that 2 course for Â£9.99 deal in Pizza Express. The Aldi reusable bag has become a regular feature on the High St no longer hidden inside a Sainsburys Bag.
The Aldi effect has also forced us to compromise on the actual shopping experience. I mean lets face it, the stores are not exactly salubrious and throwing your groceries into the trolley at the end of the checkout isnâ€™t the most enjoyable way to pack your bags. But we all accept this. We are happy to forego the bells and whistles and embrace the concept of no frills shopping.