Wednesday, September 27, 2017

What Do Brands Signal About You?

Regardless of product or service category, brands signal something about you. Consider the shirt that you wear. If you are wearing a Carhartt shirt, what does that say about you? Do you live in a large city or out in the country? Do you spend a lot of time outdoors? Do you pursue physical activity outside of a gym? How about Under Armour? Columbia? Patagonia? The North Face? Loudmouth? lululemon? Eton? Calvin Kline? Robert Graham? Vans? Versace?

Now think about cars. What does driving a Tesla say about you? How about a Mercedes-Benz? BMW? Toyota? Honda? Hyundai? Mini-Cooper? What are your motivations for buying the car that you drive? To get you from point A to point B and that's it? To haul a trailer or a boat? To enjoy the drive itself? To maximize gas milage? To reduce carbon emissions? To signal your social status? To show that you are cut from a more interesting mold than most people?

How about schools? What does going to a community college say about you? What does going to UC Berkeley say about you? Are you smart? Are you liberal? How about Liberty University? Brigham Young University? Reed College? MIT? University of Kansas? University of Florida? Rhode Island School of Design? US Military Academy at West Point? Naropa University? Hampshire College? Williams College? Stanford University? 

What are some of your favorite brands of wines? Carlo Rossi? Reunite? Trader Joe's Charles Shaw? Yellow Tail? Barefoot? Duckhorn? Stag's Leap? Caymus? Silver Oak? Hall's? Sloan? Maybach? Screaming Eagle? Chateau Lafite Rothschild? Chateau d'Yquem? Or do you drink beer instead? Or perhaps craft cocktails? Or maybe you don't drink alcohol at all.

For each of these brands, think about what you are signaling to others whether you want to or not? Are you signaling social-economic status, region of country, religious affiliation, personality type, social consciousness, urban versus suburban versus rural residence, IQ, political point of view, profession, hobbies, family size, age, gender, how well traveled you are, how well read you are, how fashion conscious you are, how self-actualized you are...and I could go on and on.

Now think about what YOUR brand is signaling and to whom.

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