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Brand culture

Have we married the brands through the advertisements?

By SHAFAQ FATIMA BAIG
Feb 26 - Mar 04, 2001

Our buying patterns indicate that perhaps we are married to the brands. I have seen people and also my own behaviour revolves around some kind of emotional involvement with the products that I purchase and the love with which I always remember their brands.

One day, I was out shopping and the sudden thing, which embarrassed me during this arduous act, was at two different times at two different places. At first I asked at one of the retail store "Do you have my diet Pepsi tin." Then suddenly I felt myself too much possessive about this brand but then I have a right to be. This is because these kind of emotions are always translated into MY Pepsi, MY Nestle and even MY Dingdong bubble. I want to explain it more vividly by the following metaphor which one of my friends indicated being a Marketing Practice Consultant in Maple Valley US.

Consumers with this kind of involvement become literally married to their brands. Whether we have a long-term love with the brand, which in the marketing jargon will bear the name of Brand Loyalty or just even a new established love, brand marriages are equally applicable as both types of love are akin in getting consumer to marry a brand.

If only the marketers will take care of this fact and make their promotional strategies for the product in this regard then they can have an easy breath. The only thing that they need to do is provide the same set of information one needs to decide upon marrying a person or needs to evaluate a prospective spouse, i.e information about the physical attributes, the style and the character of the brand.

Now the question arises that how can advertising influence us to marry a brand or how we who are the customers can marry a brand through advertisements? The advertisements always give the information how good looking is the brand? How well does it perform and they can be encountered in many areas like packaging, product performance or superior value. It is for instance Ariel's stain removing ability or TCS's promise for an overnight delivery or Lu's Wah biscuits to entertain difficult guests. Brands, which are sold for their physical attributes, live with the permanent obligation of justifying every sale with performance. Attractive physical attributes are reason enough to date on a day-to-day purchase but alone they are not enough to justify long-term commitment and marriage.

The second most important thing is the style. Style is the way that brands presents itself. It can be serious just like. Then it can be tongue-in-cheek, scientific, fun or down to earth. All those are style descriptors. The style is even more rooted in culture. Like for example Germans always want hard facts and therefore there the style should be very serious. Asians are sensitive to humour and Britons to humour, etc. Style is important in the sense that it adds to the emotional involvement, an incentive to take a good look at the product. If the consumer likes the style, he will look at a product a little closer.

Character is also one of the important elements that help to establish a long-term connection between the user and the product. Just as to create a long lasting bond of marriage we need more than handsome physique and attractive style. Character is what exists when you are confident that you can anticipate a person's or a brand's actions even when it is based on the observer's understanding of the brand's values. It is the base on which long-term relationships are built.

But communication of character is very difficult to achieve because character cannot be communicated proactively as nobody can tell his character we must witness it ourselves to be convinced. Assessing someone else's character is based on personal observation. Another important thing is communicating character takes time while physical attributes take fractions of a second, and style a few minutes to impress character takes time to discover. It is only after we form our own assessment that we may be impressed. And that take times. Consistency should also not be forgotten at this time. How often have we doubted our own assessment of someone's personality based on one trivial faux pas? One step that's out of character can set a budding brand back to square one.

Another important wedding that needs to be mentioned here is the marriage between products. Like for example, If we memorize the various advertisements that keep running on television especially one of those that belong to washing powder and summer wear of various textile mills. They most of the time claim that if you will use this washing powder for your lawn clothes then they will have a long lasting colour, so and so forth. This type of marriage is very common and just within few months time we have seen how many brands of washing powders have married these brands of cloth manufacturers and a recent marriage has taken place between Bonanza and Brite Total. Also the washing powders have married to various washing machines.

The time is hiding many more marriages among different product brands just like if they are swaddled in a cotton wool and time will unwrap them one by one. But sometimes these relationships really make me worried and may be others too. What if I don't have a particular brand of washing powder to wash one of my dresses the maker of which claims that only this particular washing powder will keep it safer in terms of protection against colour and texture loss. And the same goes for other products as well. This means I have to purchase a dozen of brands, which can go together with each other. My domestic budget will be running in a deficit if I keep on nourishing their relationships. A little alternative should be available to each of us i.e. if we bring another brand(person) in this relationship it should not harm the ongoing relationship and their relationship should be spacious enough for the third one.

I do hope that our love for different brands will keep on growing by their being consistent with the message they present themselves so that we don't switch brands (divorce). Our consistency in purchase will keep on asking the producers to give us quality in the products. The wedlock should at least bring out some benefits.