Brands in the News

Branding Tuna

22 Sep , 2009  

The New York Times on September 21 featured an interesting article about branding tuna in Japan.  It is a wonderful example of the power of branding.

Sashimi is big business is Japan, with tuna attracting much of the attention.  And the finest Pacific bluefin tuna in Japan supposedly comes from a small town called Oma.

In a very savvy branding move, the town of Oma has taken steps to protect its brand; only tuna that actually comes ashore in Oma can carry the name.

This move ensures that Oma tuna are differentiated.  A tuna from Oma isn’t just a tuna.  It is a unique and special tuna, the best available.

This branding translates directly into pricing and profits; the most expensive tuna comes from Oma.  Indeed, in 2001 someone bought a 444-pound Oma tuna for $220,000, a remarkable $495 per pound.  

The beauty of Oma’s branding move is that Oma tuna are now unique and superior and better simply by virtue of the brand.  The New York Times article quotes one consumer who says, “It makes the tuna taste two or three times more delicious.” 

We know from consumer research that she isn’t making this up. Consumers get more pleasure from items they believe are special and expensive.  When someone thinks they are having tuna from Oma they will enjoy it more.  It could be exactly the same quality as non-branded tuna, but people think it is better and get more pleasure from it.

As long as Oma protects its brand it will occupy a unique and valuable place in the world of Japanese brands.

You can read the article here: 

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/20/world/asia/20tuna.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=tuna&st=cse


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