Companies, raise your prices now!

Pricetag For years, marketers in numerous categories have lacked what economists call “pricing power.” With shoppers primed to seek a cheaper alternative at the slightest provocation, name brands have been compelled to keep their prices flat. But now, amid breathless news reports about the biggest jump in wholesale prices since 1990, people will assume the prices of everything have gone up. Thus, a price rise for your brand will be merely what people expect, which means they’ll be less likely to hunt for a cheaper substitute. And while they won’t like the higher price tag, they’ll figure that Big Oil is somehow to blame, and not you. (Unless, of course, you are Big Oil.) Miss this moment and who knows when another such chance will come along?

—Posted by Mark Dolliver