Brands provide considerably good product and service. they are the sure shot way if you want quality assurance, warranty, newness and variety. Quite essential for a modern customer.
Expansive endorsement deals results in increased cost of product which the consumer has to bear. For standing out, brands are spending billions in advertising and that too mostly based on lying and cheating.
How you get a Branded Brainwash
Confessions of a fashion designer: Branding at its worse
When you buy branded clothing the subtle music that plays in the back of your head is quality assurance, service, exclusivity, rust, appropriateness and aspiration.
I am a fashion designer and the following article is based on an authentic personal experience concerning my frustration of cheating you.
But have you ever wondered, why a pair of jeans with the same look, make, fabric and quality sells for $79 at Banana Republic while Diesel charges $430 for it?
So the difference comes to $350 (Rs 15750/- approximately)
And consider this: the average monthly income in India is only Rs3,000.
Very few of you might have had a raised eyebrow on this figure since these two brands are meant for two different categories of customers with different aspiration needs.
But there is a deeper and dark truth to it.
I particularly pointed out the aforementioned example, not to corner any brand (in fact, I myself am a Diesel admirer); but because both these denim variants get made in the same factory in India . Coincidently their fabric is the same and there is just a mild difference in wash that hardly matters.
You still seem to be bored.
Now imagine: what if the labels of these denims were interchanged?
Without ANY difference in the quality, you would have paid nearly 5.5 times the price (for Diesel customers) and more amusingly 5.5 times lesser (for Banana Republic customers).
Now, let's see what the truth is all about.
In times of mass production and cutthroat competition, marketing pros worked out a clever tool to leech out the hard-earned money out of the customer. This tool is Branding.
It became quite obvious that it was very easy to add hyped image value to a product by attaching it to a person's aspirations.
The costliest department owned by any brand is their lying section. Lots of successful people â€“ stars/public figures are hired for lying and are paid enormously. These money mongers sign endorsement deals to promote products, which have nothing to do with them. They do not care one bit about misguiding their own fans who trust them blindly.
Since this department, known as advertising, is the major source for brand building companies invest billions of dollars in it, which they will procure in time, from the customers.
For instance, golf's $6 billion man â€“ Tiger Woods.
Does Shah Rukh Khan have Navratna hair oil on his dressing table, or is the secret of his fairness the fair and lovely cream?
Anyways, coming back to figuring out what the truth is all about!
China has factories that make the same product like jeans, for up to 13 brands at any given point of time. Remarkably, all these brands sell this particular product at MRPs ranging from $69 -$450 (you pay upto $380/Rs17000/- as your share to your favourite star for wearing a jeans â€“trust tax?)
With quality and service constant across different brands (same fabric, manufacturing place), the only qualities for which I would have loved to spend extra cash, would have been exclusivity and uniqueness
Having spoken of exclusivity, just walk into any high street mall e.g. Select citywalk and you will see clones of clones of clones of the same product advertised with different names in jeans: Tommy Hilfiger,Guess, Mango, Promod, Esprit, Next, United colors of Benetton, S.Oliver, FCUK, Diesel etc.
Whichever brand you wear, it seems like a uniform.
With such strong emphasis on individualism, which talks of the moral worth of the individual, the "I am different" and "be yourself "attitude, we should realize by now that brands are working hard to keep us away from exploring our own reality by wrapping us in their identity .
In a world where everyone should be equal and his own judge, they group us into a futile social category created by them (almost like a caste system). In a world which is already struggling for unification, we do not want more scope for divides - specially not by people who lie and unreasonably charge customers to achieve their targets.
I do not want to depress you anymore. Since you now have a sneak peak into the dark secrets of brand hazards, there is a lot you can do to revolutionize the brand philosophy.
Educate yourself: All change starts from the self .A bit of knowledge about what's going on behind the so called big names will trim down pressure from you and will help you in getting rid of the rat race of acquiring branded stuff.
Share Information: Next time you see your friend flaunting a huge Replay on his T-shirt, call him Mr. Replay and let him know politely(without hurting his ego).
Talk to the stars: These days, it is quite easy to send your feelings to your star e.g. social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Flicr and Myspace. Kindly let them about how bad you feel when they lie. It might be business for them but no business should be based on cheating.
In extreme cases, start a blog on infobarrels or community on Facebook against this practice.
Talk to the Brands: Every brand has a 'contact us' link on their website: Write to them about how much you admire their brand, but how much it pains to feel cheated by your object of affection In the suggestion books kept in their stores, pen down your feelings.
We stay away from parents, work around the clock, have a poor social life and bad health, just so that we can earn. So if the companies really value their customers, they should start making value for money products.
Create Awareness: Think up your own innovative ideas to share this info with as many people as possible.
Stop buying and flaunting brands that have huge endorsement deal.
I am sure this piece was insightful enough for all you guys, and not drooling to the extent of not having a seizure anymore about brands.
Tell me about them in your comments.