Let me start out by saying that I have never been a big spender and believed that branding didn’t actually affect my purchasing decisions. When I show up wearing a new shirt my friends roll their eyes and know that the first thing I’ll tell them is the fantastic deal I got. I thank them for noticing, shrug, and say “Oh this? Only eight dollars. EIGHT DOLLARS! Plus I had a coupon that gave me 10% off.”
I like to save my money. I like to spend it carefully on things I can convince myself I need, and feel the need to justify every purchase that might seem frivolous. I’ve scoffed at people who spend their hard-earned cash on something impractical just because it’s pretty.
Then something changed…
But then I bought a purse. An expensive name-brand purse.
It caught my eye and I found myself trying to convince myself of why I needed it.
“It’s made of real leather, it’ll last forever! Maybe I’m actually saving money.”
“It’s a timeless purse, it’s definitely worth it if it doesn’t go out of style!”
“Think of how many books I could fit in there!”
But the truth of it is: it made me feel good. I wanted it because I saw it as a step up. To me, it represented the sense of accomplishment I felt for finishing school, getting a job, and finally seeing myself as a successful member of society. I felt that I had worked hard and earned it. Was I becoming a big spender?
And that’s how branding works. It gives us the emotional connection and shows us how this product will make us feel and how it will define us. Great branding can even catch the eye of a tightwad like me. So what are your customers thinking? How are you marketing yourself and what you sell?
Which do you want to sell: the lowest price or the lifestyle upgrade?