Marketing the Unbranded: Avocados on the side of the Road

Brand stickers on avocados sold by the side of the road, Kenya. April 2013

Brand stickers on avocados sold by the side of the road, Kenya. April 2013

These stickers caught my attention. The only one of a long line of makeshift wooden stalls by the side of a highway in Central Kenya to display what looked like branded avocados. Were they part of some cooperative or horticulture exporter’s leftovers?

They turned out to belong to Maude, the ambitious and aspirational market woman whose avocados stood out among the crowd. No other type of produce was on sale in this roadside cul de sac lined with at least 8 or 10 stalls piled high with avocados.

She’d heard that branding her produce would help it sell. It was a marketing strategy. And so she’d invested in these stickers for her fruit. Did she sell to supermarkets or the formal retail sector, we asked, still thinking these were part of the formal value chain, given the familiarity of the stickers on fruit and veg.

Nope, just here, by the side of the road. But she aspired to sell them under her brandname, and her ambition was build a reputation for quality that would, perhaps, lead to greater things. She wanted people to come back and ask for her by name.

 

 

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