Have you Sold your Soul to the Devil?

How brands manipulate you

I haven’t or at least I’d like to believe I haven’t.

Have you ever asked yourself why do you buy a branded product over a non-branded? I needed paracetamol. I went to Boots. Two boxes were right next to each other: one — was a branded paracetamol costing me £0.45 and un-branded £0.19. I asked at the till what was the difference. The answer was — they are exactly the same the branding is different. I obviously bought the cheaper one. Which one would you have bought?

This made me question everything else I buy. Clothes, for instance, do I need branded clothes? If you go to Italy or Spain or indeed any European city you will find shops with unique, pretty and high quality stuff; none of their clothes are branded. Would you buy it? There’s a niche for hand made clothes. Personal designers and whatever else people think of.

In Pakistan, Uruguay, people make their own clothes or have tailors. In main European cities there’s streets of designer stores. For instance, London has its famous Sloane Street. LA has its own expensive street of branded clothes so is New York, Paris, Milan and etc. However, why they are so popular?

I see people buy into brands. People have personal shoppers instead of personal tailors. The clothes’ industry is brutal if you follow fashion. I often wonder what for? Why would you buy a Victoria Beckham’s dress for several thousands of pounds? Why do brands matter? I worked in the industry where our biggest competitor was one of the biggest brands on the planet. And yet I am wondering what’s this attraction to the brands?

Branding is such a huge field. Brands and branding is a whole module at a University studying Marketing. There’s jobs where you only work on a brand of a company. Have you ever read a book called Brandwashed by Martin Lindstron? In that book he talks a lot about how brands are stories. We buy into the brands and sometimes don’t even know why.

One of the famous brands is Calvin Klein. The sales went through the roof when they made half naked ads of men and women. Then they wanted to create a scent. Now this scent is one of the top ten fragrances sold in the marked called Euphoria. “So what does sex appeal really smell like? Turns out it smells like money.” — Martin Lindstrom

I’ve read a blog post by a marketing/advertising agency on branding. I won’t name names but it’s all a BS. It’s what people believe when working in marketing should be saying to their potential customers. How important the brand is, the customers trust your brand, you have to tell your brand’s story to your potential customers so they connect with you emotionally and etc.

One of the biggest brands today is Apple. People buy their phones and they don’t even know why. The reason for that is because of the story. The brand has a story and what it represents. Did you know Apple has the highest retention rate? It’s about 99.8% or at least it was about four or five years ago. What does that mean? People are loyal to the brand. They always come back for more. It’s amazing for the business.

If you have the right module your business will work no matter the brand. For instance, if you’ve got your product, price, place and promotion right it will work. It’s as simple as 4P’s of marketing. If any of the four doesn’t work your business isn’t going to do great. It’s all about the balance. People buy brands because they don’t know any better. It’s the same as people liking the Queen because they don’t know any better.

People who think buying a certain brand will make them feel different are wrong! They outcast themselves from the rest of the people. It’s an imaginary “secret club” because they can afford a certain brand. It’s all manipulation of some kind by a brand! This leads me to say education has a lot do with it. An educated person wouldn’t necessarily buy brands, or a person who travelled the world wouldn’t be buying brands.

Why? Because brands don’t matter. All of it, is a story. It’s made to manipulate you into spending more. The personal development coaches say ‘you have to develop your own value in the market so you can charge whatever you like to make a business’. Do you think a woman in Swaziland cares about Gucci, Chanel, Dolce & Gabana? All they care about is get dressed, have food on the table and their family are ok.

Do you think people in Uruguay care about a brand? No. They care about their families, food, music and dance. Happiest people on the planet. Why then we are so obsessed in buying brands?

I am not against brands. What I am against is blindness to buying brands. What I mean is, you can have the most beautiful dress made by someone who isn’t famous and look million dollars! When you only buy brands and are blind to what’s around you that’s what I am against. I am against to making empty and expensive statements.

It’s all down to education. If not education then travel the world. I don’t mean travel Europe where everything is close to home. I mean travel to the places you’ve never been to. Going to a University isn’t just about getting a degree or a job afterwards; it gives you so much more. If you are into expensive things, particularly buying brands unnecessarily seriously think if you have sold your soul to the devil? It’s not even that ask yourself does it really make you fulfilled?

I am a writer who learned to code! I write about personal experiences within a humanist and global context. Find me on Twitter & Instagram @erikachaudhary

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