I, as an individual like to possess things that define me. Likewise, the brands associated with the products/services I possess/use matter to me tremendously. But like most other teenagers I couldn’t always possibly afford these expensive branded goodies, except on a few occasions.
A couple of years ago, I purchased a branded wallet, costing a bomb apparently. Nevertheless, I was quite happy with the purchase as the wallet totally appealed to me. One fine day, after using it for about four months, I noticed a cut on its edge which only got worse as time passed (courtesy of my usage). So, I knew I would need a new one sooner than later. But after my experience with the existing one, I didn’t as well as couldn’t invest the same kind of money on the next one. Later that month, during a visit to my parents, I accompanied my mother and her friend to a local fair. While waiting for them to finish their shopping, which as it turned out was more of a gossip/critic show, I saw a young chap rigorously trying to sell his products at a tent. I must say he was doing a commendable job as he created a curiosity in me to step towards his tent that exhibited all sorts of accessories from caps to socks. My eye locked in on a bundle of wallets. I knew that the brand logos a few of these sported were not for real. But the material quality and the feel of the wallet convinced me otherwise and before I could think further, the man acknowledged my presence and said, “a good choice for a happy price of only 200/-“. As I knew that a ‘genuine’ one would cost at least five times the price, I told the man it was not original. To this, he immediately grabbed another piece of wallet and showed me all its insides and replied that I doubted its originality only because it lacked a huge price tag and a place in a fancy store with well suited representatives trying to sell it, well may be. At last after a few failed negotiation attempts, hey don’t judge me, I bought the wallet. I thought if it survived for a little over couple of months, I got a good deal. If not, well, I didn’t lose much anyway.
I think most of us as consumers and sellers do not realise the power of branding. When my branded wallet (the one I bought from an exclusive store) got damaged, I blamed myself for it and a majority of you would also agree that my rough usage damaged the wallet. And the brand’s quality/durability stands undisputed in our minds. On the other hand, the second wallet I got from the fair surprisingly survived for more than a year. And eventually, as I kept using it, I completely forgot that it was not an original one. However, had it not been durable for over a year and had it survived the same or less time my branded wallet did, I wouldn’t blame my usage but the fact that it was not a branded piece as the reason for its fragility. So the question we need to ask ourselves as consumers is, does branding ensure undisputed quality? And as producers how much further can it be extended?
Author: Raghav Dalmia