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USA Today suggests in a story that major consumer-packaged-goods players - from Procter & Gamble to Kraft to Kimberly-Clark - are looking to create brand perceptions that more overtly make people feel good about themselves and their choices.

Here’s how the paper frames the strategy: “Some will try to make you feel smart for saving money. Some, for saving time. And some for being a tad ahead of the cultural curve. New products are the life blood of brands — making them even more crucial in a topsy-turvy economy. The goal in 2012 isn't just to get you to buy the new product, but also to nudge you to very publicly gloat on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube about how savvy you were to make the purchase.”

Two interesting passages from the story:

• “The number of folks who turned to social media as a source to learn about new products more than doubled over just the past year — from 24% in 2010 to 49% in 2011, reports a new study by Sentient Decision Science for Schneider Public Relations.”

• “The great race to catch the public's fancy with a new food, drink or gadget will almost certainly have fewer entries this year. U.S. product introductions will likely shrink in 2012, projects Mintel, the research giant. They shrank in 2011, too, to about 37,600 vs. roughly 41,000 in 2010, Mintel reports.”
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