Why can’t branding be a bargain?
We are beginning to become aware of the fact that we are witnessing a change in paradigm, and while we mutate into a new condition still unknown to us, the sales are on in our consumer society. Special offers and bargains have become a chronic symptom of our era. And as this is a permanent stage, our purchasing habits are changing at tremendous speed. It looks like we are no longer willing to buy, let alone follow a sudden purchasing impulse, at the same prices we used to consider normal. In order to enjoy the purchase, we need to feel that what we are being given is worth much more than what we are willing to pay for it.
Stemming from this new philosophy (although perhaps we should ask which came first, the chicken or the egg...), a huge offer of “low cost” products have emerged: vouchers, collective sales, luxury brands at shockingly low prices, package tours, massages, beauty products, toys, clothes, shoes, computers, music, furniture, watches, jewelery... The most immediate consequence has been the definite disappearance of the sales season. Perhaps it all began with the auctioned products in eBay and continued with all those tempting and pleasant, yet dispensable, experiences which came in irresistible offers. The bargain is also appearing in products and services for companies, office stationery, software, car rentals, restaurant cheques and professional services. If we can make an event at half the price, why pay for all of it?
But not everything can be subject to this new movement. In the bargain era, there are still situations and moments lived as unique and unrepeatable, and a lot would have to change in our mentality for them to become part of the bargain category. It would be extremely unusual, perhaps even snob, to buy one’s wedding dress in the sales or to order our wedding reception at a home delivery with a 2 for 1 offer. Although you never know, we might still reach that point.
What I want to point out is that there are situations which, at least in the beginning, are lived as though they will never happen again and their exceptional character prevents them from entering the bargain category. Something like that is what happens with our brands.
When we create the strategy, the name and the logo of our company or product we usually think that they have to last forever. This is what is so special about branding: its longlasting impact, its strategic dimension. A brand is not made to satisfy a certain trend or to offer a solution to a certain situation. It is made to last, at least a priori, throughout the whole of the product or the company’s lifetime.
That is why there is no time for frivolity. Would you trust someone you don’t know who does this work on a 70% discount? Probably not, because you would surely want him to devote time, inspiration, knowledge, creativity, care and craftwork. Even to become as passionate about your project as you are. And as this is a special occasion, you don’t want it done in a hurry. Improvisation or “seasoning jobs” are not appropriate for something that is meant to last.
We know that we live in an accelerated world and that everything can be done extremely fast, but is it a lot to ask to stop for a moment and think, with regards to our company, our product or ourselves: who am I?, what was I born for?, what do I offer that is unique and irresistible?, who cares about me? or how do I want to present myself to the world?.
Even though I respect the organisation of fast-food restaurants, I cannot imagine the cashier saying: “A double brand with cheese? Coming up!” . And you?