Branding; our Masters

Close your eyes. Now open them. I can guarantee you the first thing you see is a brand.

Your Samsung phone that’s supposed to be smudge proof but smudges anyways, the Asus computer you’ve been meaning to change, that IKEA mug with your cold coffee. We are surrounded constantly by big name brands. The food we eat, the clothes we wear, the tech we can’t live without.

We sold our souls to brands the day we bathed our babies with Johnson’s & Johnson’s  and fed them their first Happy Meal. Children will learn how to read Toys”R” us before they learn their Abc’s.

It’s not far fetched to believe that brands own every aspect of our lives. Big corporate has become the big brother. They count our keystrokes, watch how we respond to facebook ads, what videos we watch when we watch them. They have our phone numbers, email addresses, language preference and track our locations with satellites in the sky.

There is nothing more pervasive in our lives because someone is always trying to sell us something. We are exposed to an average of 5000 ads per day. Almost every blank space we see is covered with some sort of advertisement or brand logo. We carry it on our chests, on our arms, in our pockets.

So what is it about brands that are so integral to our daily lives? Why does it drive us to make purchases? Is it crowd mentality? Elitism? The promise of quality, luxury, and class?

When you ask someone what are the things they like or what do they do in their free time, it’s likely they would answer with a brand name. KFC Chicken, Nike shoes, Facebook, Twitter. It’s something that has become so natural in our environment that it’s become white noise.

Brands have moved on from just selling a product to forming a lifestyle experience. Starbucks isn’t just coffee anymore, it’s the coffee shop experience; the pictures of smiling groups of friends or businessmen shaking hands hanging on the wall. It’s their lofty ambition “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”

Brands take on a personality and feeling of their own, creating a tribe like a mentality that spreads throughout people carefully targeted by teams in boardrooms and carefully tested focus groups. They promise belonging, popularity even good health.

The reality is that Brands control everything. They become a staple of our lives providing convenience, entertainment and even emotional fulfillment. Each brand promises to better your life in some way or the other; competitively vying for a portion of your time.

We have to understand the power these brands have over our lives before we could start to think of how to replicate its successes for our own benefit. We should first ask ourselves what pushes us to choose the brands we do. By dissecting our own choices we can further question the power these brands have and assume a better understanding of their reach.

Bryan Chen

Bryan Chen is a brand strategist, brand manager and consultant. He helps his client discover the reason for their brand existence through brand strategy and prioritise their branding efforts to achieve their business goal. His clients are like Giant B Melaka, Funwater France, TTW Los Angeles and many more. He believes that no successful brand can be imitated or copied and have the same outcome simply because of our differences be it our agenda, culture, worldview or goals. Just like businesses, branding is an infinite game with lots of intentional failing, learning and growing. Before he makes stuff, he would like to find out why. Cause... The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. —Mark Twain. The same goes for your business.

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