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View Full Version : Do you believe in the concept of a "Brand"?



gimmethesimplelife
2-1-11, 8:12pm
Here's something I have been pondering lately - the concept of a brand. I have been doing marketing research surveys online and focus groups and such for a few extra dollars here and there - and in doing this I run across the concept of a brand. Honestly, you're talking here to someone who buys almost everything secondhand. To someone who does cost per ounce comparisons in the supermarket. To someone whose loyalty will turn for a nickel on many items. It just amazes me the time and trouble that marketers go through to establish a brand, and I wonder with the economy as it is, is this even worth their time? Or am I just brand-resistant? Or maybe marketing message resistant? Rob

kally
2-1-11, 9:34pm
I believe in the idea of a brand. You might like to look up work by Terry O'Reilly. He has a super show called The Age of Persuasion.

ApatheticNoMore
2-1-11, 10:04pm
I believe in it as a cognitive shortcut.

In other words: I've already used this before, I know it (works/I've read the ingredients/I've read about it, investigated it and know it's better (for instance I know one type of TJ's TP is 100% recycled)). Doesn't mean my brand preferences never change, to the extent I have brand preferences (they change with new information that reaches a certain threshold, so that the cognitive shortcut is just that: not overwhelmed with every shopping trip but not set in stone either).

There's benefit in trying alternatives to an overly expensive choice (not being on complete auto pilot), but if it becomes "ok I'm going to read all the ingredients and compare all the prices of all the canned tomatoes again this week, to see which I should buy", you'll pretty soon drive yourself nuts.

What's a brand anyway? Going to a certain farmer at the farmer's market whenever you need xyz because you know they have good xyz? Well that' doesn't have any big gun advertising money behind it, but yes it's the same process, cognitive shortcut.

Anne Lee
2-2-11, 7:11am
Brand is for more than just products. The Girl Scouts, for example, have a brand (and they've become increasingly protective of it). I think for some people brand will always be important because it should be a marker for a desired level of quality.

Many of us here are brand resistant, at least on most things. Some of us are brand averse (think Wal-Mart)

ApatheticNoMore
2-2-11, 8:34am
Brand is for more than just products. The Girl Scouts, for example, have a brand (and they've become increasingly protective of it). I think for some people brand will always be important because it should be a marker for a desired level of quality.

Many of us here are brand resistant, at least on most things. Some of us are brand averse (think Wal-Mart)

That's the old myth though of what brand means but it's been mostly watering down by the very corporations themselves. Very little to be found in America actually is of high quality (it's mostly junk!) and that which is of high quality is almost never the highly marketed brands!!

However, it is hopefully a sign of consistency. I mean you know say Oreos will be horrible aweful junk food, consistently. But hey if you must have an Oreo, you do know what your getting (though slightly better alternatives exist). You know the same thing about Coca Cola, it will be utter garbage, but you can expect a certain taste. Are some natural brands of food better? Yea, but even then formulas are always changing (sneaky, sneaky) so you periodically have to go back to reading labels from time to time (hopefully not every time - see the cognitive shortcut). Are there a few brands of long lasting durables and the like that are still high quality? Yes a few, but many companies have taken shortcuts even here.

I do think many women look at brands for clothes so that they can be assured of a certain fit (even that is always changing - today all women have flat stomachs and big butts, tomorrow all woman have big stomachs and no thighs - seriously, giant stomachs and no thighs seems to be the current cut. Because how clothes are cut changes with fashion!). Men don't have this problem? Yes I know :)

maribeth
2-2-11, 8:39am
I was going to post something similar to the "cognitive shortcut" theory but ApatheticNoMore said it better.

I definitely care about the brands I buy, inasmuch as they are things I prefer for whatever reason. However, although I have been known to participate in iPhone vs. Android battles for sport, I don't care what outsiders think about the brands I bought.

Tenngal
2-2-11, 9:23am
I recently had to replace my heat & air unit. The repairman told me that these days you are really only buying a warranty. He said he would not pay the extra $500 it was going to cost for the leading "brand" name. I had already determined this was the case when purchasing a new computer and TV. I think people who stick with one brand are doing it in the hope that it will be more realiable?

Hattie
2-2-11, 9:38am
When I'm buying food, I'll try the no-name brand. Some of it is just as good and even better than "brand" name products. Some of it is garbage. I just buy what I have experienced is good value for money. When it comes to electronics and appliances, I prefer to stick with brand names because I can research them online for customer feedback before I buy and therefore know what I am getting.

mira
2-4-11, 10:51am
The concept of a brand definitely exists, I would say. People have to be conscious of being susceptible or influenced by it in certain ways though. For example, my partner prefers brand name food products because he has somehow been led to believe that they're "better". Good thing I do all the shopping...

Even the most unlikely things can be brands, promoting a certain service and image. For example, libraries.

catherine
2-4-11, 11:45am
Yes, there is a science to branding for SURE.

You have been a market research participant--I am a market research moderator. I test brands for companies all the time--and they spend a lot of money making sure their brand will "brand" itself into the consumer consciousness.

We react emotionally to everything, whether we know it or not. We also respond to colors, shapes, patterns, symbols, personalities, and ideas. All of this is part of branding. I think it's absolutely fascinating. We are all vulnerable to the "cognitive shortcuts" (love that term, Apathetic N.M.) that branding creates.

Sorry, but whether we like it or not, we are seduced by products that have identities that seem to match our own, or by those to which we aspire. We can be simple living snobs about it, but we have all connected with brands over and over again, whether we're conscious of it or not.

HappyHiker
2-4-11, 12:03pm
Yep, companies invest huge amounts of money to build their brands ad then huge amounts of legal fees to protect their bran's integrity. Personally, I'm not brand loyal at all--I shop for value, taste, and these days, deals!

Given that, though, I'd rather invest in something well-crafted that's lasting than something just because it's cheap...I stopped shopping at Walmart when I discovered the quality was shoddy--it's more than cost, it's value for me.

pinkytoe
2-4-11, 12:05pm
When dd was little, I used to tell her that the ads on TV were trying to trick her and I still believe that for the most part. Even though I was persuaded as a teen to study advertising art in college, I could not get over the thought that it was all phony and I didn't want to participate in that.Before there were brands, people bought a few items at the general store but mostly grew/made their own so it is interesting to see how over the past decades we have been totally inundated with brands. Why even my place of employment hired a PR consultant to re-tool our logos, publications, etc. to shape our image to the public

kally
2-4-11, 12:13pm
http://www.terryoreilly.ca/blog/show/id/35

this guy is an amazing writer and speaker about marketing and advertising. This is the Beatles as a brand.

catherine
2-4-11, 1:17pm
http://www.terryoreilly.ca/blog/show/id/35

this guy is an amazing writer and speaker about marketing and advertising. This is the Beatles as a brand.

Kally, thanks so much for turning me on to this guy! Loved the Beatles as Brand piece (lifelong Beatlemaniac here)

I'm going to find his book.

kib
2-8-11, 12:11pm
That's the old myth though of what brand means but it's been mostly watering down by the very corporations themselves. Very little to be found in America actually is of high quality (it's mostly junk!) and that which is of high quality is almost never the highly marketed brands!!

However, it is hopefully a sign of consistency. I mean you know say Oreos will be horrible aweful junk food, consistently. But hey if you must have an Oreo, you do know what your getting (though slightly better alternatives exist). You know the same thing about Coca Cola, it will be utter garbage, but you can expect a certain taste. Are some natural brands of food better? Yea, but even then formulas are always changing (sneaky, sneaky) so you periodically have to go back to reading labels from time to time (hopefully not every time - see the cognitive shortcut). Are there a few brands of long lasting durables and the like that are still high quality? Yes a few, but many companies have taken shortcuts even here.

I do think many women look at brands for clothes so that they can be assured of a certain fit (even that is always changing - today all women have flat stomachs and big butts, tomorrow all woman have big stomachs and no thighs - seriously, giant stomachs and no thighs seems to be the current cut. Because how clothes are cut changes with fashion!). Men don't have this problem? Yes I know :)
I've pretty much given up on branding entirely, because the few times I've decided to spring for the "quality" product, I find out after the fact that it's been changed and I wasted my money because of brand loyalty. No better way to make an enemy than promise me quality for high dollars and not deliver. Crap price, crap product makes me feel a little embarrassed, what did I expect. High price, crap product is a good way to induce a stroke.

I sometimes wonder ... big stomachs are a classic sign of a diet very high in refined carbs. Which is what the food industry is almost literally pushing down our throats. I'm pretty sure some of the subtle shift in how clothes are cut is because the percentage of people with comparatively big stomachs is rising. I've got short legs but a reasonably classic hourglass figure and I've never had so many issues with pants that gap in strange places ... hey, look where I can store my spare canteloupe! :0!

redfox
2-8-11, 1:31pm
I understand the concept, and see it at work in persuading people to part with their $$. I don't accept it, though, and make buying decisions with other criteria. That said, once I decide, I tend to stick to the same product (cat food & shampoo come to mind) unless I notice a price increase or change in the qualities I initially bought it for. For big purchases, I do lots of research mostly regarding repair history. I've a friend who subscribes to consumer reports, so she sends me info from their research.

Flour Sack Mama
2-24-11, 9:21am
I try to live frugally, and have grown fond of shopping for secondhand clothes. Yet, the brand is still important from a quality perspective. I know there are certain brands that I can buy in kids' clothes that are going to hold up much better than others.

heydude
2-26-11, 3:02pm
Sometimes a brand means it is better, sometimes it means it is worse. Some things I will only buy the brand (sometimes there is no non-brand).

Mrs-M
2-27-11, 9:59am
From a marketing/profit standpoint, yes, otherwise brand-name means little to me (for the most part).

redfox
2-27-11, 12:46pm
Regarding clothes, I've come to realize that certain brands fit my body type better than others. So I look for those brands at Goodwill, where I buy almost all my clothes. It's a fast way to choose what to actually try on.