It always pays to be just a bit cynical about the value brands provide to consumers. With that in mind, here's a list of ten thoughts that help focus my thinking when I consider buying a branded product:
1) A brand you trust and have "known" for years may not even make its own stuff. Please keep the example of Sara Lee in the front of your mind.
2) Brands are not people. They do not deserve unquestioned trust and loyalty.
3) Many consumer products companies think it doesn't matter that they don't actually make the products they sell.
4) Less expensive store brand products may actually come from the same factory as so-called branded products.
5) Therefore, it's quite possible that store brand products may be of equivalent (and even better) quality than branded items. Yet they are almost always priced at a meaningful discount.
6) For obvious reasons, consumer products companies don't advertise these facts about branded and unbranded products. It is up to us as intelligent consumers to figure this out for ourselves--and spend our money accordingly.
7) Companies should never be so dismissive of the intelligence of their customers that they would try to hide the fact that they outsource the manufacture of their products. Unfortunately, they occasionally are that dismissive.
8) Never pay a premium price for a branded product unless it provides enough of a difference in quality to make it worth it to you.
9) In a surprising number of instances, brands provide nothing more than imaginary value. Savvy consumers do not pay for imaginary value.
10) All consumers should adopt a general mindset of brand disloyalty. If you ever hold mindless, habituated loyalty to a brand, you will be consistently separated from your money.
Readers, what thoughts would you add? What do brands signify to you?
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