My Fascination With Brands

Since young, I’m always the kid that shunned certain brands because I don’t like them. Usually, the brands I preferred are more expensive. As such, I’m sometimes labelled as the child who chased after branded goods.

But deep within my heart, that was never the case. In secondary school, I wanted to get into the basketball team. I have to get a pair of basketball shoes like the rest and try to play my way into the team. Back then, Michael Jordan was in his peak. Air Jordan was the shoe to own. Naturally, I wanted a pair. They may not provide the best shock absorption, nor are they the lightest. They don’t necessarily allowed the players to dunk or spin or play better. But everyone wants to own it. Just by having it inspires us to live the dream of becoming the star that MJ was. That’s the power of brand association. That’s what brands can empower us to believe in.

Growing up, my increasing obsession with brands was evident. I would only buy brands that resonate with my beliefs and values. Even in the nerdy and geeky world of DIY computers, I would only purchase parts from manufacturers that were innovative, featured great design, or offered better image quality rather than raw speed. These are the criteria I stood by and my PC represented who I was. It was communicated clearly, there and then.

In my Uni days, the slacking schedule allowed me to explore other interests of mine – gaming, specifically WoW. I made great virtual friends there and we still keep in touch today. On a side-note, though, I wished I studied harder or took on a side project. That experience of building website, curating advertisements I love and generally just having fun and posting the experience online would be handy as I navigate the curves and bumps of the net today. If my grades were terrific, I might have gotten a chance to work with the people at Ogilvy, Interbrand, Futurebrand or Apple. But time and tide waits for no one. Feeling remorseful makes me more determined to make up for this lost opportunity.

Back to the topic of brands, have you ever wondered why some brands are worth more than the other? Why do some brands trigger an emotional response in us by the mere sight of their logo?

People are buying Apple because it separates them from the boring and conventional products by other brands. It makes the users feel special. Creatives are rarely seen without them. It is also a nod to the tagline of Think Different. People who buy Apple products care about design and quality.

People walk into Starbucks not because the coffee is great. Starbucks is selling a lifestyle. People want to see and be seen in Starbucks. Holding a cup with Starbucks logo walking down the street is an affirmation of the freedom of choice they made.

Nike is not selling apparels. They are selling dreams. They inspire you to achieve your goals and fight for your dreams. The sportsmen are always the best in their respective fields and it inspires you to be like them – the best.

Disney is not producing carton characters. They are showing you magic. Walk into disneyland and it’s a magical place filled with wonderful little details that is meticulously designed to craft a happiness response from you. They certainly live up to this promise and we are willing to fork out top dollars for the ticket price, because we perceived it as something worth paying for.

I could go on and on. But these are the brands I like and they are harnessed to the way they are now through strategic branding stages. Rome is not built in a week. Neither are great brands developed in a day.