US & Global Economic Impact Analysis and Forecasts

Freedonia analysts and economists are sharing their insights on how major events are impacting different parts of the US and global economies.

What’s in a Name? Potentially Trouble

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet… with apologies to William Shakespeare, consumer products suppliers and branding professionals know differently.

Corona, the well-known Mexican beer brand (sold in the US by Constellation Brands), was initially thought to take a hit in sales in 2020 as its name was so similar to the coronavirus pandemic then raging largely unchecked. False associations with the virus turned out to not be as damaging as initially feared. This ended up being a case more closely related to the idea that there is no such things as bad publicity. The hubbub over the brand’s similarity to the virus ended up having the brand frequently discussed in the news. The company believed that its customers knew the difference between the virus and the beer; they did.

The current negative associations in the US with Russian branded products may be a little harder to refute. Vodka brands such as Stolichnaya and Smirnoff have long enjoyed positive associations as Russian vodka is seen as a premium product in the US. So, despite being made elsewhere, the brands have had little reason to loudly refute that perception.

For instance, the Stolichnaya vodka sold outside of Russia is made in Latvia and owned by Luxembourg-based Stoli Group. The company, which had been stepping back from labeling as “Russian Vodka” (the company had been sourcing ethanol from Russia, but is now shifting to Slovakia, despite the higher cost), is now changing the vodka’s name to Stoli to allow for even more separation.

None of this is new. It has happened before and will happen again. Companies and brands must stay aware of perceptions of their products and remain flexible to adapt.

For more information and discussion of opportunities, see The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research, particularly Consumer and Packaging industries, as well as Food & Beverage industry analysis and consumer insights from our sister publisher Packaged Facts. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.

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