28 Feb 2010

Who buys brands anyway?

Really. Who does?

Think of the last time you time you brought a 'brand' as against buying a function? Now contrast that against every time you spent your hard-earned money. How do they stack up? 2(function):1(brand)? 5:1? 10:1? Or worse?

Are the millions spent on beer and toilet paper - from multimillion dollar SuperBowl Commercials to Social Media Apps - paying back any dividend? Anything at all?

Here's what I think...

In today's scenario the consumer no longer respects products and services as superior or inferior - it is accepted that there is near uniformity in function. From SUVs to LCD TVs, the 'brand' is no longer as deep a differentiator for an educated consumer. (Alarmingly, he's the one who's likely to be most brand-conscious!) Out-sourcing put the nail-gun to that notion. Today, a GMC doesn't embody larger-than-life American values - any more than a Sony does nifty Japanese technology.

And from insurance to pharmceuticals, international trade regulations make sure that any product is uniformly exploitative across the world, regardless of the 'brand'.

So on what parameters do we as consumers base our buying decisions? The startling answer to that, I think, is that we largely base it on nothing more than availability and price.

Welcome to the commodification of everything!

Where does that leave the Advertising industry? Well, there can be precious little to differentiate advertising done for products and services that have precious little differentiation to advertise.

So where do brands go from here... In my next post.

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