Have You Been Brandwashed? When Was the Last Time You Had an Original Thought?
Coke, Pepsi - Codswallop!
Brandwashed by Martin Lindstrom is a fascinating look of the arcane world of marketing and advertising.
Why are Brands so important to us?
The brand loyalty of customers can take many years to establish and is jealousy guarded by the brands themselves.
Customer loyalty to a brand is usually based on some perceived utility or benefit that the brand represents.
Brand X is superior to Brand Y.
Our perception is usually based on some form of added value, feature or better design.
In many cases it is just a perception that something has a quality that we seek that reflects our values.
It can also be that we agree with the company's brand values. For example, Lego's brand values, are 'curiosity and imagination'. Allowing the users the choice to build whatever they wish.
Some branding is embedded so deep in our consciousness, that we hardly perceive certain items as branded products.
The fairground ride in the video is instantly recognizable. They are what we associate, with a typical fairground ride. Any other design wouldn't be acceptable.
Did you ever consciously read the advertising on these side of the rides. Did you notice what it said?
Great Brand Since 1893
Alternatively. Christian Louboutin are considered a top brand. The brand values, associated with these shoes are; high quality, and an aspirational target of the upwardly mobile.
What these shoes have, that defines them from other shoes in addition to the red sole is an inspired shoe designer. Christian is fascinated with shoes and is pushing the limits of stylish shoes. Some are so stylized that they would be impossible to actually walk in.
When asked why he made these. Christian stated something along the lines of.
"They are meant to be worn in bed, with your legs in the air!"
His designs are instantly recognizable and this gives them a unique selling point.
There are of course other defining elements, but the red sole is the unique selling and marketing point.
Brand loyalty can evaporate very quickly for seemingly arbitrary and irrational reasons.
This brings us to the point, that Brands themselves have a monetary value.
Sometimes this brand value can be more valuable than the product the company produces. Facebook doesn't 'make' anything, yet as a brand, it is valued in the 10's of $billions.
What Is Marketing
We all know that advertising can help us to find the products that we want.
This is okay and the vast majority of marketing is entertaining, informative and helpful. It must also be
'Legal, decent, honest and truthful'.
Source:-Advertising Standards Authority.
An Informed Choice
Marketing and advertising then, allows us to make more sensible and informed choices on our purchases. These methods were developed over many years.
The rise of social networks, has put a lot of our personal preferences, into the hands of many companies and organizations.
The Web is still a little like the Wild West; so who can you trust? Friends recommendations are still valuable. Hence th growth in all those 'like' buttons on just about every website.
Notorious scams in the past, led to the strict consumer protection laws. These strict laws protect us from false or misleading advertising. These laws however do not always cover information on the web.
There are still unscrupulous people and corporations out there and while online security is always evolving, we need to be careful with our data.
We often still trust our friends recommendations over any form of advertising. This is one of the keys to success on the web.
Manipulating our Wants
Do you ever wonder, why you suddenly feel 'I must have that'? Whatever that is.
New shoes, New house or a New car. An overwhelming desire to possess.
Some things are obvious and immediate. Like hunger. We all need to eat every day, so certain products, need very little encouragement for us to buy them. These are basic commodities.
Bread is a good example. There are a multitude of types and brands of bread, the choice is yours and branding will have some influence.
Do you prefer white to brown bread, wholemeal or wholegrain.
The marketeers need you, to want 'their' brand of bread, so they appeal to characteristics, that 'you' feel are important to you.
You may be very health conscious and so, you will lean more towards wholemeal bread. As you believe that this is healthier, than bread that has been baked using bleached flour (white bread).
Marketing is geared to getting products exposed to you. You may like what you see, based on 'your' preferences. This would seem to be a win win for all around.
As long as it is fulfilling our needs. So what's the problem. Brandwashed goes behind the scenes and reveals some of the tricks, that marketers use to get you to buy more,
Supermarkets are designed to make you walk in a particular direction. Usually it is to the left, as you enter the store. It appears, that people will spend more time in the store, simply by walking in the left hand direction. Check it out next time you go to the supermarket.
Supermarket trolleys have almost doubled in size over the years. It has been so gradual that few people have really noticed. Supermarkets often place food items that we need daily, at the farthest part of the store from the entrance.
We have to walk past aisle after aisle of products and branding logo's, in order to get that bottle of milk that we came in for. How many times have you visited the supermarket, to get bread and come out with a couple of bags of other foodstuff?
The brands logo's may have prompted your memory, that you were running low on something.
Supermarkets designed to slow us down
Is there a problem with this? maybe not. It may be that while you are passing along all these aisles, you remember that you have run out of Jam, ham, or spam.
The supermarket is relying on these impulse purchases. Is this a bad thing? probably not. Sometimes they will have special sales on and you can pick up a bargain.
When you get home, you may find that you already have 10 jars of mayonnaise, but at least it was cheap? You can never have enough mayo.
In case you were wondering. The chocolate and candy is not at child height and at the checkout counter by accident. With childhood obesity at an all time high. It may be a good idea to change this particular practice.
The tricky part comes when they start to 'ramp' up these delaying tactics, by literally putting in speed ramps to slow you down. Is that acceptable? probably not.
Or continually moving products around the store, so that you can never find what you are looking for, and have to ask a shop assistant. (those poor assistants).
This tactic, also slows down your progress through the store, leading to 'more sales' not to mention the rogue trolley, that will go in every direction, except in the direction, you wish it to go.
All this leads us to the concept of branding, and making us aware, of the 'best' brand that is going to satisfy our needs and wants.
They have you in the store and they want you to buy something.
This is where all that finance being pumped into advertising and marketing and branding a particular brand, comes into play and starts to pay off.
Why do we pick up one tin of beans, instead of another?
We have been raised in an environment, where we are literally bombarded with product information, marketing, advertising and branding.
Older generations were also subjected to marketing, if less powerfully, and their choices of foodstuffs, that they made for their children, may influence our adult choices of food.
An astonishing 93% of 3 year olds, could recognise the difference between McDonald's & Burger King branding. The sample in this particular research was small (50) but still tell's us that clever branding is powerful.
Controlling the power of advertising is important
We are influenced by our surroundings, and upbringing. Marketing and branding departments tap into these common influences.
Marketeers want to solve four basic problems.
(1) How to give you what you want.
(2) How to garner your support and loyalty
(3) How to shift (sell more) product.
(4) How to survive and stay in business.
Humans on the other hand are not stupid, and can often see through a poorly built, or manufactured product.
The Ford motor company many years ago, built a car called the Edsel. It was dreadful. No amount of advertising, was going to make it a better car!
'Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half?'
John Wanamaker, (attributed) US department store merchant (1838 - 1922)
Why protect a brand?... Reputation.
A brand tells you everything you need to know about a companies product. It's reputation for being exactly what it purports to be.
A coke is going to be a coke, anywhere in the world, in other words it is reliable, you can depend on it. It's reputation is 'reliable'.
The same is true with brands like McDonald's, KFC, Burger King and a multitude of others.
If a brand suffers some trauma, as happened to Perrier, the bottled water company, in 1990, when traces of benzene, contaminated a batch of this 'naturally pure water'.
This hard earned brand loyalty, can evaporate very quickly.
People rightly asked 'what is benzene doing anywhere near, naturally pure water?'
The company was slow to get information 'out', to the public, that they (Perrier) had recalled the single contaminated batch.
The press made such a fuss. That this once market leading, global brands sales fell of the cliff. The brand, died a death. Perrier is still on sale after re-branding, but it has never recovered it's market share. Brand loyalty can be fickle and fleeting.
Most people aged 18 - 24 have probable never heard of Perrier. This once world dominating brand leader, virtually disappeared in no time flat.
Brands jealously guard their image. Once the image goes, their goes the company.
Sometimes, a product can be rebranded and relaunched.
Change The Name.
Perrier is now rebranded as EAU! (French for water) with the Perrier logo in much smaller letters. Branded as it is now, and owned by another big brand company, Nestle'.
It may regain some market share, if the marketing and branding is right?
- Mens Grooming and the Metrosexual Male
You like to look your best at all times? You have more than one figure hugging t-shirt. You smell nice.
What Brand's Mean to You
Branding and brands have important meaning in our lives. In many cases these brands are closely tied to our value system. Brands can remind us of good times.
A major celebration call's for popping a few 'real' Champagne corks. Domestic sparkling wine is just not good enough. It doesn't have the same quality.
Brands can give a us sense reassurance, safety and security, people want to be associated with those brands, that share the same values they hold, and aspire to.
Aspirational & Inspirational Products
Some people may not be able, just yet, to buy a Roll Royce or Bentley but they can buy a T-shirt, with the famous RR emblazoned on the front. Or the latest football shirts.
It tells us a lot about who they are, what they stand for, and aspire too.
We would be wrong to assume that people that buy iPhone 5's, really couldn't care two hoots that it is made by Apple. And that it is an incredible piece of technology.
They buy the iPhone, precisely because they know the brand values of the company and they agree with them. Apple's brand values are, innovation, functionality and stylish design.
Do some people just want an iPhone 5 because their friends have one. Maybe in some cases. Don't underestimate the power of imitation of aspiration.
People (including children) want to fit in with each other. Having the latest iPhone, we are led to believe, means we are particularly hip and up to date with the breaking trends,
It's the same marketing concept as. 'Your car tell's us what kind of person you are!?
Remember, when we were children
If someone had come along with a device, where we could talk to each other, we would have wanted one. Well wait...! They did. It was called the walky talky or personal radio system, where you could talk to your friends, yards and sometimes miles away. It was brilliant!
Don't forget the citizen band (CB) radio craze of the 70's, that 'craze' flew around the world in no time flat. People bought CB radios buy the bucket load, and still do. CB Radio is easy to use, convenient, and no phone bill ever.
Marketing is as necessary to any product, as water is to a flower. Done well it can lead to amazing things. Done badly it can damage a brand irretrievable.
When supermarkets and others attempt to bamboozle their customers. They run a very serious risk of losing those customers for good.
Any good business knows that, it is 10 times harder to get a new customer, than it is to keep an existing one.
This best selling book is a timely reminder to business leaders and the general public alike. To remember that brands come and go.
The brands that have longevity are those that maintain high standards, have solid values, and have a passion for what they represent.
Do you want to appeal to more customers, keep the ones you already have and grow your business?
White Moth Orchids
What Are Your Choices?
Which Burger Do You Prefer?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.