Branding is everything when it comes to anything that can be purchased. It is the reputation that identifies an individual product with a particular company, body or group. Some of the organizations that use branding are companies, political parties, sports teams, etc. In the current society, everyone has to relate to one brand or the other. Brand has become an expression of what an individual stands for in life, and career, and also shows social status. Branding has become a way of providing a set of guiding principles, a touchstone that one can use to know if they are on the right path of profession or life (Che & Seetharaman, 2009). Now that the worlds economy is run along brand and reputation, organizations, political parties as well as sports clubs are focusing on strategies for creating brand loyalty with their customers. They want to relate their products with the highest names, class, and quality. Consumers want to have a sense of self-worth and significance when they use these brands. As an example, when they associate with a certain political party or when they support a particular group, it is because of the brand loyalty (Simoes, & Agante, 2014).
Brand loyalty is when consumers show commitment to a certain brand and make a frequent and consistent purchase over time. It could as well be the commitment to a certain group like a sports club or a political party. If consumers are loyal to their brand, they will consistently purchase products from their favorite brands, regardless of the price or conveniences. If they are supporters of a particular sports club, they will support it to the end regardless of the teams discipline or performance. It could as well be a political party. In this case, those loyal to the parties brand will always support their candidate or party regardless of the partys policy or capabilities (Liu-Thompkins, & Tam, 2013). Now that brand plays a very significant role in creating a strong emotional bond between the product and the consumers in the economic world, the brand owners have launched a new strategy to keep on selling, earning and strengthening the brand names. It is the world where most of us want to buy stuff with brand names. Maybe we want to know if they are better than the brands we are loyal to, or we just want the brand because of its reputation, or there is no any other better brand (Che & Seetharaman, 2009).
The new strategy that the brand owners are using is marketing their brands to children. Children have become the highly targeted segment. Children are the consumers who want to buy everything in the market and do not care how much the products cost. It sounds like every marketers dream. Today, children are bombarded with brand messages almost immediately from birth. The messages are sent to them placed in movies, colorful branded packages in supermarkets, toy tie-in in restaurants as well as television adverts and animations. The brand messages are not sent to children because they get more disposable income at a tender age, but because they have an important influence over the family purchases. Experts in marketing call it the pester power which at times is referred to as the nag factor. As a result of the nag factor, there is an entirely new segment of the marketing industry that is now committed to figuring out the best ways to sell things to children (Arvidsson & Caliandro, 2016). To a greater extent, one can say that branding by business corporations, political parties, and sports clubs have a great impact in the way we think when we grow up with the same brand loyalty. Even without the loyalty, branding still has effects on the way we think, and children who have been raised in an atmosphere free from brand names and brand loyalties are likely to think in a completely different way.
First, it is reasonable to argue that branding affects the way we perceive other people in the society. Having grown in an atmosphere that is full of advertisement, political rivalry and games and sports, loyalty to brands shape the way we perceive and position others in the society. Again, studies detail that branding is to some extent associated with some luxury, class, and stratum that an individual belongs to in the society. In this case, branding of products, sports clubs, and political affiliations tend to make individuals class themselves in the society. For instance, persons who use a particular brand of cars, shoes or even phones are considered to belong to a certain stratum of society. A specific example could be a man who has Rolex wrist watch, whereby such watches are often aligned with people of a high socio-economic status. The brand is associated with the rich. Individuals who have not been exposed to branding messages are not likely to think this way. The feeling may exist but may take different other forms (Arvidsson & Caliandro, 2016).
Studies also suggest that brands (especially the luxury brands) make individuals more mean. Children growing in an environment that is exposed to brand messages such as advertising and party campaigns are likely to grow into very despicable adults as compared to their counterparts in a different environment. Individuals grow with the state of mind that they have to show their self-worth to others, and it should be better than others. The study points out that an individual maybe inherently selfish, but brands make them more selfish. Another survey asserts that the level of testosterone in men is affected by status; like the status of cars that they drive. The survey adds that women, on the other hand, tend to judge the attractiveness of men depending on how expensive their clothes, watches, phones or cars are. It is all attributed to branding. Growing in a society where everything defines your ability and status in the community can be challenging (Bruwer & Buller, 2013).
A different study puts it that there are two main reasons why consumers tend to go for specific brands especially those that are of comfort. The first reason is drawn from the very fact that every human being has a rivalry sense. Every person desires to exceed other in all the aspects of life that the individual care about. As a result of this, individuals develop a sincere mania to go for purchases that are sometimes very expensive and less practical items just to corroborate they are classier than others. Branded luxury products can accentuate the fact that the owner of the item is in the higher stratum of the society. Secondly, the reason explaining this tendency comes from the consumers psychology about the quality of those products. Most people who go for a particular brand do so because of the perceived quality of that brand and not the actual quality. For instance, the modern luxuries have no significant difference from the cheaper models (Bruwer & Buller, 2013). Even so, it is of the essence to not consumers often place such brands at a higher level. Children who have not been exposed to branding and effects of branding are likely to have a clear vision of the actual quality of a product.
The above inclination results in adverse effects for two reasons. To start with, this habit introduces a materialism trend in the society, particularly in adolescents. They have a tendency to imitate sports stars, celebrities as well as entertainment stars when they see them using such brands. Moreover, since these children cannot always afford the costly brands they see, on the television, internet and toys, they tend to commit themselves to illegal activities for them to finance their desires. As a result, this brings negative outcome for the children families as well as the society. Secondly, despite the fact that the brands that people desire are of greater quality than the other ones, the prices people pay for them are much pricey when compared to their real characters (Bruwer & Buller, 2013).
The tendency to associate ourselves with the leading brand items has increasingly become popular in the society. Because of the above reasons, some studies firmly believe that this trend is not a positive purchasing habit. However, introducing brand messages to children and people is not all that bad. First, I can say that branding help in saving time during shopping. We cannot always buy everything or just anything. We always have to identify ourselves with something if it is good. Therefore, when an individual has grown with knowledge of a certain brand(s), shopping becomes easier and fast because one goes for what he or she knows. Secondly, it is easy to pinpoint the source of the effects. For instance, if an individual notices skin rashes, it is easy to check the brand of bathing soap or body lotion quickly. It could be an infection an allergic reaction to something, but sticking to particular brands will give us develop a starting point. Branding also brings competition in the society. Competition is good in that if everyone wants to have what another person has, or a brand that is better than that of others, it is a good thing. It is good in the sense that it motivates individuals in the society to struggle to improve and have the best. It brings hard work and great visions. Brands only get worse when it incites the consumers or motivates children into stealing to get what they want (Hollebeek, 2011).
The effects of branding are apparent in both adults and children. These effects, however, are more evident in children because the markets today target children more. Even though children cannot make the purchases themselves, they impact of their pester power substantially moves the market. Children know cars better than their parents. They want their parents to buy luxury cars like Mercedes, Porsche, and Ferrari so that their family can stand out and they can also feel good among friends. Children who grow in environments free from fancy brands and sports teams (it is astonishing that some teams are known to be supported by a certain class of people and some sports like golf are also believed to be for the rich) are likely to think differently and in most cases do not have any kind of pester power when it comes to family purchases (Resnik, & Stern, 2012).
Today, branding dictates what people buy and the class of people that can use a certain brand of products or items. There has to be a way in which we can combat the adverse effects of branding in children as well as adults. First, there has to be a restriction of what branding messages are sent to children. Children have the nag effect which results in the purchases of these brands. Therefore, there need to be restrictions of what products are advertised in children televisions, placed in children, movies or toy tie-ins in the restaurants. Brands like Gucci that make children go wild over the celebritys wardrobe and that might lead children to illegal means of getting cash should not be exposed to young ones. If branding messages meant for children are filtered and well monitored, the adverse effects of branding in children are likely to reduce. After all, the adverse effects of brands work best when an individual has grown exposed to every kind of brand messages and know what brand preference means.
Arvidsson, A., & Caliandro, A. (2016). Brand Public. Journal of Consumer Research, 42(5), 727-748.
Bruwer, J., & Buller, C. (2013). Product involvement, brand loyalty, and country-of-origin brand preferences of Japanese wine consumers. Journal of Wine Research, 24(1), 38-58.
Che, H., & Seetharaman, P. (. (2009). Speed of Replacement: Modeling Brand Loyalty Using Last-Move Data. Journal of Marketing Research (JMR), 46(4), 494-505.
Hollebeek, L. D. (2011). Demystifying customer brand engagement: Explorin...
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