The other day my husband brought up the topic of branding. Some people think we ought to do away with the brand. You know, instead of Nike sneakers we just have sneakers. This got me thinking. Why are brands important? And what makes one brand better than another?
I am a generic shopper most of the time. I go to King Soopers and buy generic food. But it isn’t just generic food–it is the Kroger BRAND. And there are always things that I buy which cost more but due to the brand that produces it, it is worth the extra cash. (Right now I am thinking about Ghirardelli brownie mixes–yum!) When I shop for clothes I tend to go to Ross and shop the lesser known brands. BUT if I want a good pair of running shoes I am going to buy Nike, Reebok, or New Balance. Why? Because they are good brands–they specialize in running shoes and athletic gear. They have worked years to become the best and they deserve to put their brand on their product and say “yes, we produced this fine product.” They may be expensive but they also deserve to get reimbursed for their years and years of work to become the top brand in their line of work.
Now I’m not saying I would dress my kids in Calvin Klein and myself in Tommy clothes just so we look important or fancy. I don’t think the brand makes the person but I do think the brand determines the quality.
When you talk about doing away with branding, you are talking about making all products equal, all companies equal and in essence all people equal. Sounds pretty communistic to me, how about you? Now what really caught my interest on this topic are some little rag rugs we have in our bathrooms they have this large tag (sticking out tastelessly because I haven’t cut it off yet) that reads REstyle–a Target brand. But I have owned rag rugs in the past that did not come with a tag–well in a way they did. They were hand made by some little German lady that sold them at a open air market in Europe. Now that was the biggest brand anyone could put on a product–a face and a personal touch. When you look at something someone handmade you don’t need to see a brand because you picture their face. It is personal. And the object itself becomes personal.
But not much is handmade these days. In fact, unless you get a knitted baby gift, nothing is really handmade anymore. But the brand on a product is like seeing the creator of the product. It says that this company’s designers designed this, this company’s marketing team marketed this, this company’s factory workers made this. It does in a way make it personal. There are people behind the brand.
Now how would people feel if nothing had a brand? We would walk into a huge brandless warehouse to find brandless products and walk out with what we need. I believe it would lessen the value of everything in that building. Why should you value something that has not connection to a person? Of course this sort of event would also most likely entail the government setting up the brandless warehouses to send their “equal” people to shop… See? It isn’t possible without a communistic society. Point made. Despite how some people despise paying for brand names it is vital to our individualistic society. Pay for that brand once in a while–the company worked long and hard to become one of the best.