The Genius Brand Positioning Strategy of no name

The Genius Brand Positioning Strategy of no name
The Genius Brand Positioning Strategy of no name
May 15, 2021
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“They found a new, untapped market. Where others were fighting in red oceans, this brand developed a blue ocean for itself.”

A brand entering a highly competitive market will have little hope of success, no matter how amazing the product or service. However, this brand did something different. They developed a brand new, untapped market. Where others were fighting in red oceans, this brand constructed a brand new blue ocean of its own.

The brand we’re talking about is no name, a discount private label brand under Loblaw Companies, Canada. It sells groceries, household items and recently started a taxi service as well. With almost 40 years in the industry, the brand is known for its satirical packaging, such as “not an empty can” for evaporated milk or “can be tied slowly” for quick-tie garbage bags.

Uwe Stueckmann, SVP, marketing at Loblaw, says the style of packaging and advertising gives a glimpse into the minimalist culture of no name, as well as emphasizing its “No Frills” approach of producing less expensive products with no additives, synthetic colors, or artificial flavors. This attracted a cult following who love what the brand does and it’s a minimal approach to everything.

Sobeys, Metro Inc, and so on are the most well-known grocery and household chains in Canada. no name stands out among the competition, since it created a new market for itself. It all relied on their Brand Positioning. As Ted Morgan best said, “positioning is like finding a seat on a crowded bus”. Most brands get inside a crowded bus(market) and end up sitting on top of each other. But no name went inside, walked up to the top deck, found an empty seat, painted it yellow, and now no one can sit there. (credit: Marketing Examples by Harry)

History admits first to market never made it. It was first to mind that did

Altair 8800 was the first personal computer that hit the market in 1974. But the brand never succeeded and was discontinued after just a few years. Many factors such as difficult names, complicated use and more were responsible for the product’s failure. Then in 1976, Apple launched its Apple 1 Desktop PC. It came pre-assembled, ready to use, in a neat plastic case, and with color graphics, the first of its kind. But most importantly, it came with an iconic brand identity. It was and still is first to mind.

What made some brands come first to the mind?

When brands come first to mind, it means they have a high TOMA rating or Top-of-Mind-Awareness. If the TOMA rating is high, the brand comes first to the mind of a consumer when he/she thinks of a particular industry.

Fast food — McDonald’s

Smartphones — Apple

Athletics Shoe wear — Nike

Coffee chain — Starbucks.

These brands come first to the mind and hence they have a high TOMA rating. The reason is that they created a new market for themselves. Where competitor brands were promoting the USPs of their products and services, these brands believed in something and targeted people who resonated with their belief:

McDonald — They understand their customers want quick service and quality standards. That’s what they strive to deliver

Apple — The brand believes that with passion, people can do great things. So their target customers are those who have the passion and the will to do great things.

Nike — They want you to believe you can do it, no matter what. Their market is people who have the drive and aspiration to become amazing athletes.

Starbucks — Coffee is a luxury item. Starbucks made it affordable for enthusiastic individuals who relish the prestige of coffee tasting.

no name — They stand for one thing: Simplicity. They are straightforward with their marketing and packaging. In a world filled with advertising noise, no name adverts come out as a sigh of relief.


What can be learned from high TOMA-rated brands is that if you can’t be first in the market, then the best successful option you have is to become the first in the mind.

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