Alan Mitchell (MW April 28) concludes that there is a trend towards the trimmed-down brand, a “lean” revolution in the application of marketing principles, focusing on customer need as opposed to brand need.
And no doubt Tesco can shift brand-style clothing at a fifth of the price, while Dell can sell straightforward computers and Ryanair can provide the public with no-frills travel across Europe.
But consumers (we) buy brands not just because of what the product does, but how they make us feel – a product is a function, a brand is an emotion. There will always be room in our shopping repertoires
for bargains, for products that we don’t need to feel anything about, or perhaps we’ll trade a cheap purchase off against something more desirable.
But the day we stop feeling, or wanting to feel, something about what we buy for ourselves, our family and our friends, is the day that brands will die – and, presumably, the world will have finally been overrun by androids.