The World's local Brand!

'A diamond is forever'; advertisers for DeBeers came up with this advertising slogan in 1948....and till date we all recognize it! "Just do it!" "Open happiness!" "Connecting people"; "I'm loving it!"...are just a few examples of the most recognized brands today....So, what is it that makes brands so important in our lives? We often hear 'brands give us a sense of self...brands define us...'  but do they?

If I remember correctly, I did not grow up in a society that was so brand conscious. I don't remember wearing Disney clothes as a child or playing with Fisher-Price toys....as a matter of fact, a Barbie doll was the most coveted (read most expensive) toy in my childhood! It is surprising then that today's society is suddenly so obsessed with brands! Since when do we need to sport labels to define who we are? Today, brands have entered our lives in many ways than one. Everything from baby food to banks, to grocery store chains to jewelry, to clothes, to shoes, to cars, to even homes...you name it ...and there is a brand involved. Local, national, international, small, big, mid-size (whatever that is!)...brands are all over the place....everywhere we see! I read somewhere recently that only 20% of brands have a notable positive impact on our sense of well being and quality of life. Is that true?
Branding, which basically meant a mark indicating identity or ownership, burned on the hide of an animal with a hot iron; today means, a trademark or a distinctive name identifying a product or a manufacturer; or a defined product line. It has become a status symbol where everyone wants to outdo others in his choice of brands. Are brands worth it? Or is it just a means of extorting exorbitant amounts of money from people just so that they sport a particular label?
Good or bad, brands exist because we the customers want them to exist. It is we the customers who make some brands more successful than others because we love them and can’t get enough of them; while other brands get unceremoniously dumped. Nobody forces anybody to buy a baseball cap with the Nike logo on it, or to spend twice as much for a shirt with a little crocodile or a  polo symbol on it than one which is completely unadorned. People do it because they want to!
The power of a brand derives from a mysterious mix of how it performs functionally and what it stands for emotionally. When a brand gets the mix right it makes the people who buy it, feel that it adds something to their idea of themselves. And that’s why some people are prepared to pay a premium for a particular brand. It makes them feel good.  They get a feeling of belonging to a special group. So they decide that it’s worth the money.  But if for one reason or another a brand gets it wrong they just walk off. Thus, although it may look as though brands are conquering the world, all brands are always insecure.
In today's extremely competitive world, it is not easy being a brand! (It is not easy being pretty much anything these days, anyway.) It is not enough that the brand has a good and appealing logo, it has to have rational characteristics i.e. it has to be competitive on price or quality or service, and it has to have ‘personality’ – a personality that charms and seduces! Quite a feat to achieve, wouldn't you say? Moreover, a brand has to answer at an emotional level "is this me?" "do i like it"; at the same time answering at a rational level " is this cheaper? better? easier?" A brand that answers best is the best brand! So, all things said then, brands are more or less completely in the customer's power. When the customers like them they buy them, when they don’t, they just walk off.  And what’s more, customers are unpredictable.  They can be loyal or fickle, extravagant or stingy serially or simultaneously!
Still, brands just seem to keep growing and growing! So why is that? Brands say a huge amount to like-minded people, wherever they live all in one go. As people have become richer, better educated and more choosy, branding has become more diverse. Brands have emerged to appeal to all kinds of preferences. Brands are not limited to product lines anymore, they are involved in as diverse arenas as famous people, famous families, charitable organisations, sports, education, fashion, travel, art, theater, literature, region, nation, virtually anything and everything; and all with the customer's blessing!
The bottom line then is that in themselves they are neither good nor bad; it is how and where and in what situations they are used that’s really significant. People love brands because they make life more attractive and easier and because they define themselves through them. Its ultimately the people who have the power to shape brands to be what they want and to shape the society in which they live.





     

Comments

  1. Very true...nowadays it is a status symbol and prestige issue than the quality of the product..nowadays for people,Brand name = quality,irrespective of whether the quality is there or no..

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  2. You are right, owning a brand has become some sort of guarantee that you belong to some elite class....but then again, its a personal choice.

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