The importance of branding stretches from insurance companies all the way to….bologne. That’s right, even bologne needs to be branded.

After a trip to my local Publix I noticed something pretty glaring: the underwhelming branding that Publix uses for their Deli meats. Let’s take a look at it in comparison to their other brand of deli meats: Boar’s Head.

Boar’s Head: They feature a picture of a boar which is used on the actual wrapped packaging for each meat and also on their signage in front of the meat. The logo combined with the boar’s head picture is an identifiable mark all over the deli. They also use much more color in the packaging as well as better looking fonts and graphic design on the pricing signage. Overall I give them a B-.

Publix Deli Brand: Their wrapped packaging for each meat uses colors like tan + white and has no emphasis on design at all. The most prominent feature is their “DELI” logo if you can even count that as a logo (it is just a black rectangle with “DELI” written in white inside it). Their main weakness is their pricing signage in front of each met. It has no branding at all, simply has a solid brown line at the top. It screams generic. The focal point is the price and nothing else. Which makes sense because generic brands usually focus on….price. I have to give them a D.

Analysis: If you did a blind taste test, Publix meats would probably do really well against Boar’s Head. So what is the rhyme or reason for their underwhelming branding? Did Boar’s Head write in their contract with Publix that they have to retain superior product placement and branding to their in-house generic brand competition?

Barring any contractual limitations, my advice to Publix would be the following:

(1) Create a new brand for their in-house Publix Meats other than “Publix Deli” meats.
(2) Focus on some more appetizing branding, especially on the signage in front of the meats.
(3) Just because you make bigger margins on Publix Deli Meat doesn’t mean you have to position it as generic!
(4) Use the sub sandwich counter to drive consumer awareness to the sliced deli meat section and vice versa through free samples + in-store advertisements to launch the brand. Maybe even have a sub that is the signature sub of the brand.

Boar’s Head Branding:Boars Head

Publix Deli Branding: Publix Deli