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It doesn’t matter if a popular brand’s product is expensive and upmarket or provides mass appeal and value pricing. It doesn’t matter if the brand produces a product or offers a surface. What matters is the promise held by the brand and how it delivers this promise to each of the brand’s willing participants.
Let’s take the case of Steve, an accomplished professional in New York’s fashion industry. Steve just purchased a couch. Not the cheapest couch, but certainly not the most expensive one either. He bought a couch that supposedly reflected his fashion-forward personal style. He didn’t buy it just for the comfort it provides. He didn’t even buy it because it was 10 feet long or was covered in expensive imported leather. He bought THIS couch because it reflected the brand HE wants to project to those most important to him – friends, family, dates and colleagues. This couch was important. And it had to do a lot of work aside from looking good in Steve’s Upper West Side loft. The couch’s brand carries the weight of this extra work. This carefully chosen and well-appointed couch is supposed to evoke the right responses from Steve’s primary sphere of influence. And it does.
While most of us might not admit to putting that kind of thought into buying a new couch, more and more of us are making purchase decisions while simultaneously making brand choices. For you, it might not be about a new couch, but over the kind of vehicle you drive. Or the type of house you live in. Or the jeans you wear. Few of us simply buy brands, we incorporate them into our lives and this participation makes our lives better… we buy ideas.
Most consumer items are ultimately commodities…coffee, clothes, mouthwash…but consumers don’t always want to buy a commodity. They want to feel that they are getting something “extra” for some additional cost. That “extra” stuff includes all the non-physcial attributes of the item. Now let’s think more specifically about Starbucks Coffee, Ralph Lauren Clothes and Scope mouthwash. Each promises to deliver something that generic coffee, clothes or mouthwash simply can’t. Sometimes the brand delivers the promise of a unique experience and the confidence of a consistently good cup of coffee (like a Starbucks coffee shop), sometimes it delivers the promise of status and the confidence that status promises (such as with Ralph Lauren clothing) and sometimes it offers the promise of success
in business, romance and all things social (think Scope mouthwash). Brand attributes and how they resonate with consumers are key to building a loyal participation in any brand. Learn more about the brands we’ve worked by visiting the WORK section of this site.
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