Tuesday, July 24

in defence of the logo and brand name

Dear Kannu
I was very chuffed when Sameer Mama complimented you to me yesterday. He said that you were a good chap, quiet, thoughtful, polite and well read. Very happy son :)

I was reading this quote:

… is from page 70 of Daniel E. Sutherland’s informative 1989 book, The Expansion of Everyday Life: 1860-1876:
National brand names – including Pillsbury flour, Van Camp’s beans, Quaker oats, and Chase and Sanborn coffee – established new standards of quality and nutrition.  The old general store remained an institution in rural areas and small towns, but people quickly recognized that food sold from open barrels, crates, and boxes was too often soggy, stale, dirty, adulterated, and uneven in quality.  The first chain grocery store – the New York-based Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company – won almost instant approval when it opened its doors in 1864.

One thing which you will realise is how many people hate brands. For example, Naomi Klein wrote a best seller called as No Logo. We have this book. Basically she hates the idea of corporate branding and pushing and and and. You will see that quite a lot of people hate the idea of branding or logos, how they say that our lives are driven by these brands, advertising, marketing, logos etc. etc..
But have a think about it, we are free not to look at logos, free not to use brands, and so on and so forth. I don't like to purchase branded goods specially the high priced goods in some things. Such as clothes, cars, shoes, kitchen implements, etc. etc. etc. I find it stupid to pay extra for functional goods. For example, I find people who dislike second hand books hard to figure out, what's the difference? The words remain the same, don't they? So what's the big deal?
But I am happy to pay extra for certain things such as my mobile phone, I am happy to pay more for books which are published by reputed publishers (Brill is an example of a publisher whose books are very expensive), I am happy to pay more for education. I am happy to pay more for my staff when they are from good universities. I am happy to pay more to stay at a Taj hotel in India compared to other hotel chains because I know their service is much better. Many times, branding is a signal of quality. See the quote above, branding helps to provide a messaging to consumers. 
So be warned, branding is a message, its a logo, its a communication. Treat it as such rather than an end to itself. Buy ADDIDAS shoes because those shoes fit well, are of good quality and do the job you want to do. But just because NIKE is more popular and thus more expensive, that you purchase NIKE is stupid because you are buying NIKE not because you like their characteristics but because you care about what others think of you. Far too much is tied up in what people think about you, so buy a brand for its characteristics rather than what it signifies.

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