2010년 12월 18일 토요일

An Excerpt, The unmanageable consumer

자료: Google books
(공)저: Yiannis Gabriel,Tim Lang

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The Future of Brands

It is now being argued by some commentators that 100 years of brands may be drawing to a close. The phenomenal success of Naomi Klein's book No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies(2000) has highlighted a change in public sentiment. No longer is it unfashionable to argu, as we did in the first edition of this book, that brands are oppressive and gloss over more complex and fraught supply-chain relations. Klein's book became a focal text for an anti-consumerist ethos that sought to challenge the hegemony of brands and the violence of fashion and styles. It also captured a mood that was first expressed in a politically significant way in demonstrators against GATT trade talks held in December 1999. While not making much of a dent on the sale of brands, Klein's book was instrumentall in capturing an anti-corporate sentiment and helped voice a dissatisfaction with the power of brands. This was not what the brand psychologists had either anticipated or wanted in the decades of brand build-up and ascribing monetary value to brands.

The 'No Logo' ethos, despite its success in capturing imaginations has not made much of a dent in the continuing rise of brands(Gilmore, 1999, 2003). 'Own label' products, however, have grown on the back of the retailers' increasing power at the expense of manufacturers(Randall, 1994; Randall and Chartered Institute of Marketing, 1990; Seth and Randall, 2001). Changes in retailing have encouraged consumers to purchase 'own label' products, thus undermining the value of some bigger brands. For all this, a fierce campaign is being staged to capture consumer spending and link it with particular brands. The decline of brands seems unlikely. Belief in comsumer choice and the power of brands remains an article of faith not only for market researchers and their psychological gurus, but also for corporations most consumers.

Sir Michael Perry, the Chairman of Unilever, one of the world's biggest brand owners, summed up this article of faith well in his presidential address to the 1994 UK Advertising Association, stating that 'brands--in their small way--answer people's need...'(Perry, 1994). His argument deserves full quotation as a classic statement of the creed vis-a-vis the consumer:

In the modern world, brands are a key part of how individuals define themsellves and their relationships with one another. The old, rigid barriers are disappearing--class and rank; blue collar and white collar; council tenant and home owner; employee and housewife. More and more we are simply consumers--with tastes, lifestyles and aspirations that are very different.

It's a marketing given by now that the consumers defines the brand. But the brand also defines the consumer. We are what we wear, what we eat, what we drive. Each of us in this room is a walking compendium of brands. You chose each of those brands among many options--because they felt 'more like you'.

The collection of brands we choose to assemble around us have become among the most direct expressions of our individuality--or more precisely, our deep psychological need to identity ourselves with others.(Perry, 1994;4)

He added:

Our whole skill as branded goods' producers is in anticipation of consumer trends. In earlier appreciation of emerging needs or wants. And in developing a quality of advertising which can interpret aspirations, focus them on products and lead consumers forward.(Perry, 1994:18 our emphasis)

(...)

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