Originally posted: :: thisisjustin.com ::
Why do we buy the things we do?
Look around you and choose a few things you’ve purchased 5 years ago, 2 years ago, 6 months ago, and this week. Why did you buy? This is a series attempting to dig into the why behind our actions.
Brands often influence our purchasing decisions, hell, sometimes they down right make them for us. When did a brand become such a deciding factor? Does buying due to a brand mean you bought based on their clout? Or is it the history of the brand? The reliability, quality of the brand?
As I thought about these questions myself I began to find that with some items I buy I could care less about brand and others I wouldn’t sway away from. Take table salt, picture frames, file folders, envelopes, mousepads, legal pads, checks; all I don’t care about brand, I care about functionality and could value. But now take computers, pens, watches, kitchen knives, hot sauce; I care very much about brand. Why is that I thought? Well, I would like to think to myself that I don’t buy brand name items simply because a certain name is on it but it brings up a interesting conjecture. Do I buy my brand names because I’ve used them and have found success with them, meaning I’ve found quality, usefulness, and value in it therefore I will purchase from that brand. Should that brand release a new product am I more inclined to purchase from them because I use other products from the same brand?
Take why I love Apple computers, the software is great, they work great for the industries I operate in which are all creative. Also, I like to work closely with applications that integrate smoothly together, Apple provides that very well. Does that mean that Apple makes the best hardware? Not at all, the fact is I can purchase a stronger, faster notebook for far cheaper from another vendor than Apple would. But does cheaper mean best value? I think not. I think Apple executes that aspect very well. But just because I enjoy Apple notebooks does that mean I will buy other product lines solely on the Apple name because they’ve been good to me so far? I think not, I know for certain that I will definitely give them a look and a shot for my business before anyone else but does it mean I will attempt to pick up everything they sell just because they have proven themselves on one product I use.
So I think products are quite easy to run this type of qualitative comparison against but are services so easy? Sometimes I think. Say insurance, you’re mandated by law to have certain insurance lines, that being said who is better? Lower price, larger reserves, quicker response, how do you choose? Many times you won’t know all the key factors until you really need the service. That being said do you trust a brand? How do you find implicit trust in a company when your only interaction with them is a passive ad on the television or website.
Quality, value, offerings; all valid items to consider but can you remove them when considering a brand to purchase or are they too intertwined?
Can you decide if you wish to buy a brand without considering price, quality, reviews, customer service, utility, appearance, status, environmental impact? Or is this what makes a brand?
If that’s the case then how do we apply this thought process to what we sell? Instead of fancy marketing (which helps immensely when selling) maybe we should be interested in these other facets of our company and the products we offer. Maybe we have a great product but our customer service is weak, does that affect our brand? What do we consider our brand? The internal, mental conception of our external reality relating to our products? Would we consider a brand regardless of quality solely for a status that we relate to a brand?
I ask these questions because the psychology of brand is so important in todays culture and how we shape our brand (your product, service, or yourself) is of great significance. How will others, customers, vendors see our brands? Some might think that brands don’t matter because you purchase generics because brand names are over-rated. But if you look at your life and the things you’ve purchased I think you’ll find that you’ve purchased brand name items for a reason. Cheap is not always the answer. In fact, I would say cost is rarely the only answer, it is a part, a big part. The fact though that one would actually spend more money on another option when a cheaper one is clearly available shows that brands matter to us just as much as air does to our lungs.
How connected are you to brands? What are you doing to improve your brand?