As a business, your main goal outside of developing your products or services is attracting people to buy them through various marketing tools. But is there such a thing as “marketing too hard”? Focusing on building brand awareness is important without overexposing your company.

Although giant brands like Starbucks and McDonald’s certainly have no shortage of customers, their overexposure has also resulted in an onslaught of backlash from their decided band of non-customers. Too much branding can clearly turn people off sometimes—proving less is often more and bigger is not always better. Here are three popular brands that serve as prime examples of this trend.

No Name

The brilliance of the No Name brand is being an obvious alternative to similar, brand name products. Its packaging looks simple and inexpensive, which helps play into the company’s brand of being a more affordable option. No Name has always marketed itself this way—which by definition still makes it a brand. No Name’s brand since 1978 is just being a non-brand. Is your mind blown?

Ultimately, this works well for the company because many people don’t like supporting the “big dog” or paying “brand name” prices. No Name’s unbranding has kept the company appearing humble and small, with what may appear to be little budget for marketing. In reality, while no brand is their brand, they are ever-present in stores beside brand names, leaving their competitors to do the marketing and essentially communicating, “we’re like that—but cheaper”.

MUJI

Although relatively new to North America, this Japanese company has actually been around since 1980. MUJI has been affectionately compared to IKEA since there is so much merchandise in its stores—and such a wide range of it. Despite many talented designers working for them, the products appear to have (because they are marketed that way) a “generic” feel. 

Essentially, this is the secret behind its success: staying generic (and offering so much variety) means being accessible to everyone. Rather than compartmentalizing their shopping, customers today often appreciate stores where they can grab a vast assortment of products under one roof. Options like Walmart, Costco, and Target have risen in popularity despite the hike in online shopping. MUJI is a more elevated version of that, both in price and aesthetic making their unbranding effective. 

Aesop

This minimalistic skincare brand from Australia has remained low-key and under the radar since 1987. It uses clean packaging and a consistent aesthetic to attract customers, and combines an artsy and local vibe to keep them interested. On top of that, they are a plant-based company.

With non-descript products that all look so similar from the outside, Aesop encourages its clientele to ask sales associates questions. And at a time when many people want to avoid human contact, this enables the company to engage harder—but subtly—with customers and sell them items from their line of skincare. The “unbranded” brand works because it combines a minimalistic approach to packaging and advertising with a heavier customer service strategy.

When it comes to branding, we have often found that simplicity is key. The alternative trend of “unbranding” proves to have significant potential. So how do you strike the right balance between marketing your company without over-branding? That’s where we come in. CreativeWorks Marketing has over 20 years of experience helping a variety of clients find the right marketing technique for them. To find out more, contact us today.