Brand-Name Blues

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Why do major brands charge so much for their products? I don’t understand the cult of Apple, for instance. And why do people seem to be willing to pay tons of money just for brand names? I have tried finding clothes, technology, and other specialty items for less, but the things I find are usually low-quality or very used. I would really like to find a way to get good products for cheap. I don’t care what brand they are; I just want them to have a high quality. I know the solution is out there; I just haven’t been able to find it yet.

Written by Nancy Pearson, President of Nancy Pearson Design.

It seems like brands are so prevalent that lots of brand names have become synonymous with the products themselves–take Kleenex, for instance. Brands are so prevalent that we may not even know generic versions of certain products–such as computers–exist, but, according to experts in the field, they definitely do.

There’s been a lot of study behind why brands are such a big deal. According to psychological experts, for many consumers, acquiring and displaying brand-name and luxury products establishes the feeling of wealth and status–even if the consumer has bought a product that is actually beyond his or her means (which is actually a growing problem). Companies know this, which is part of why they display their brand names and logos on visible places of their products–to help consumers show off what they’ve bought.

When it comes to products like food and technology, brands can make people feel safe. They know what they’re getting, and they’re not spending money on any kind of risk. Imagine that you get dropped in the middle of a foreign country. It’s a developed country, but you’re still surrounded by businesses you’ve never heard of when you spot a Starbucks. You know what to expect once you’re there, and it can give you some peace of mind while you figure out what to do next.

Consumers’ proclivity for buying brands is part of the reason companies can get away with charging higher prices, but a lot of it has to do with shipping costs as well. According to one such company that focuses on selling generic products, using wholesale providers straight from the manufacturer can save buyers a lot, even on brand-name products.

Branding is such a successful marketing tool that it has become a buzzword for businesses and even people’s personas. Self-branding has become a trend in the business world to help people get noticed and hired and to help startup companies get their name out there. They do this through blogging, social media, and using SEOs (search engine optimization). Even though you show a reluctance toward material brands, it would be useful to look into your personal brand as you transition into the job market.

Take heart: your reluctance to give in to name-brand culture is a sign that you’re on a wavelength with the experts. Most doctors actually buy generic versions of medicines, and most professional chefs tend toward store brand ingredients. An expert service will recommend top-notch products for you, both name-brand and generic, and one specific retailer of diet and weight-loss products tells us that they are able to cut their clients’ usual costs by an additional 20% through their direct access to wholesale retailers. When you look for products, you can read the reviews to find out what other consumers thought. Do an internet search for websites that sell solid generic products–and also check the legitimacy of the sites! Truly professional companies will make sure that you know the quality of product you are buying.

Fashion changes, but style endures. –Coco Chanel

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