When you walk into a large supermarket and see 10 brands of baked beans you have to ask yourself – is this too much? Do we need this amount of choice? Is a multiplicity of products making us stressed, adding to our everyday anxieties?
With so many variables – price, quality, brand, taste, packaging and offers – how are you supposed to pick the right one? And all this just for tomorrow’s beans on toast. Surely less choice would be easier – wouldn’t it?
Let’s look into a world where there are no brands and see if this would be a better option for us all.
What a world without brands would look like?
Can you imagine how the world would be without a single brand? How would it feel to remove all the brands that we have come to know, like and trust? What would advertising and marketing look like? How would it feel not to be constantly bombarded with advertising?
Since 1948, North Korea has turned away from the world during decades of rigid state control and a totalitarian communist rule that considers brands as ‘enemies of the people.’ Even today, there are only around 25 known brands in North Korea of which only four or five have logos. Why? Because the only ‘brand’ that matters there is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, the official name of what is commonly called North Korea). The only customer loyalty that matters is to the country.
While few would regard the DPRK as an example to be followed, it could be argued that a simpler life with a more focused range of choices could lead to a happier life through the need for fewer potentially stressful ‘small decisions’ and everyone being on a level playing field.
Is too much branding our fault?
In the case of our ‘baked beans’ there are multiple choices because we ask for them. Different budgets, food choices, dietary and lifestyle choices in our modern lives mean that we expect there to be options to cater for our chosen requirements. So can we really be upset when there is so much choice?
Take into consideration the demands we put onto manufacturers, how would you feel if you went into a supermarket and found that all choice had been removed and the only option available to you was one tin with a plain label named ‘baked beans’?
So how do I pick the right ‘Beans’ for me?
In short, we are attached to certain brands because they speak to us either through their packaging or brand storytelling – which relate to our dreams, needs or aspirations.
We like brands that make us feel great about ourselves. This is why we are attracted to some brands more than others and we feel confident every time we buy their product.
In the decision for ‘Baked Beans’ there are so many choices but the market leader is still Heinz, despite intense competition, because it has a memorable slogan and has communicated its brand story very successfully over many decades. It makes customers feel warm, comforted and confident of receiving a quality product. Even though they are the most expensive, Heinz still comes out on top. That’s not to say you should pick that brand for your ‘Baked Bean’ lunch tomorrow – you should simply go with your favourite brand or the best offer for you.
If branding is making you stressed – pick a brand and stick with it. Feeling overwhelmed – walk away and pick something else for your lunch. Brands aren’t going away so we have to work a way around it.
If you want your brand to come out on top and set itself apart from all the other brands – regardless of price – start brand storytelling.
If you are still struggling to pick the right tin of beans in the supermarket – give up and have a cheese and pickle sandwich. Life is too short!
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