Friday, January 30, 2009

My opinion

I think that branding is a controversial topic because there are always two opinions about it. Some people think that the world would become dull without brands, some people think that they are the greatest vice of the modern era. Both are radical and I think that the subject has both positive and negative aspects, which is why I'm interested in researching this.

I think that the vast variety of brands is a positive thing. Brands create competition and as it was said in the Economist article, it benefits the consumer. Brands are valuable when there is choice. I watched a pretty interesting movie over break about a style movement in the 50's Soviet Union, called Stylyagi or "Stylish". During the times when people were raised to look and act and think the same, there were individuals that would try to express their individuality by listening to music that was outlawed, dressing into clothes that would make them stand out of the crowd and living a secret life that allowed them to be who they truly were. This was risky and involved a lot of personal courage and required a lot of investment. The Stylish had to purchase expensive clothes bought in Europe or the US and sold in the black market. This brings me back to the branding. Now the consumers have a choice and you can buy anything and dress into whatever you want, as well as live as you find suitable. It seems, however, that most people use this not to their advantage, but to conform. The only difference between the past is that people are trying to be the same, but it's their own choice. This supports the point that the world becomes homogeneous because of the brands. At the same time, I'd rather have a choice and decide whether i want to conform or not. Since the demand creates the offer, the consumer has more to choose from.
It was said in class that being relatively close to the industry, designers are not often fooled by the science behind branding. I agree with that. Brand essence and catchy slogans do not make me believe that my lifestyle will improve or change if I buy Addidas sneakers or regularly go to Starbucks. The quality of the product and the guarantee that i get when I purchase it from a well-known brand are usually the things that make me want to buy something. Brands are the "names" of the companies. As it was said in the article, brands help the consumer find out what the company sells.

Even though I don't think that brands are something that attribute to people becoming more superficial and materialistic, I am pro-branding. It is an aspect of our lives that is going to be there whether we want it or not and we should make peace with it while having a clear understanding of why and how the system works.
I have more thoughts on this, so I might have additional posts on the topic.

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