We live in a time where brands are everywhere and there is more or less a brand for everything. From branded water; to branded clothes and anything else that one could imagine.
Part of the brand experience is that it creates sense of trust for people; that they can rely on the brand to deliver on its promise. And based on these associations that the brand creates, one can then feel safe through using the brand.
If one was in a foreign country for instance and saw two coffee shops that they have never heard of and a star bucks: it is likely that star bucks would be favoured. Because not only is it familiar, it can also be relied upon to produce a consistently good product.
The Other Brands
Then there are the others brands that are offering something quite different. The principles that are mentioned above still apply. However, here it is about the changes in ones emotional state that are created through being associated with the brand.
Ones mental, emotional and physiological disposition is being altered. And similar to how food supplies nutrients to the body, brands supply nutrients to the mind.
Some of the more common things that are associated with brands are: clothes, accessories, cars and phones. And although some cars or phones are better than others; it often comes down to what has been associated to a certain product that makes the difference.
As the item is often no different to the ones that it is in competition with. This will usually be the case with clothes and different accessories. Using successful sports stars or actors is another ploy that is used. What one associates with the athlete or actor is then transferred onto the item.
These associations are generally the same and through using the brand one will ultimately feel different. These can range from: feeling confident, being accepted, looking more attractive, feeling free, looking younger, having more sex appeal, looking successful and many more.
Many of these brands and the items that they produce primarily have the impact that they do because of these associations. If these associations were not there, the affect that they have on people would not be as strong.
So what these brands are doing is creating a perception in people’s minds and power of the mind does the rest. And once this perception has been created, one will often act on the need that it creates. As a result of attaining the branded item one will then feel that they have the permission to feel a certain way about themselves.
It is then normal to need or want the branded item, as without it, one will likely feel that they cannot feel a certain way without it. When this happens, one of the intentions of the brand been achieved. And that is to create the illusion that it is the branded item that is representative of all those feelings.
And to hide the truth that it is merely the associations that have been created in one’s mind that are largely fuelling the need and not the item itself.
What this also promotes is the belief that one’s sense of self and value is based on external acquisitions. Here how one feels, thinks and sees themselves in based in the brands that they were or don’t wear.
The ability to define who they are, regardless of the brands that they associate with, is then a challenge.
It would then be easy to point the fingers at brands and say that they are taking advantage of people. But in order for these marketing strategies to work in the first place, people have to already be vulnerable.
For the person who has a strong sense of self and knows who they are and their value, brands may well be valued and sought. And yet it is unlikely that there will be desired as they are with a person who feels empty without them.
So what these brands are doing is allowing one to regulate their mental and emotional processes. So like a form of avoidance or escapism, one can run away and cover up what is affecting their self esteem or self worth.
If this ability was there and one had a strong sense of self; then the need for brands would unlikely be as a strong.
The desire for brands can be seen as normal in the modern day world and one that is part of being a consumer. It also plays on the evolutionary need to fit in and be liked: to belong to the tribe.
Having a weak sense of self and an inability to regulate oneself also feeds the brand obsession. And this is why the childhood years are an important factor in defining whether one will be obsessed by brands or not.
It is during ones time as a baby and then as a child that one’s sense of self will be created or not and when the ability to regulate oneself is formed or is not formed.
If one is brought up by a caregiver that is able to empathise and therefore: mirror, sooth and validate ones sensations and emotional experiences, then one will have a functional model to internalise. One will then be able to self regulate.
This may not happen as a result of unemapathic care and result in one being ignored, abandoned, mismatched and invalidated. And as a result of that, the ability to self regulate is unlikely to develop. Here one will have to look to outside sources to do this process.
Sense Of Self
Part of developing a strong sense of self and the self esteem and self worth that goes with it is to have ones caregiver’s show that one’s actions can have an effect on the environment. Through the process of the caregivers responding the baby’s and then the child needs; a sense of personal power will be gained.
And if this process is not allowed to develop gradually over time, the baby and the Childs personal power will be stifled. This can lead to all kinds of problems, from having nonexistent boundaries, to feeling powerless and unworthy
For if one feels a sense of powerlessness within, one will often to look to outside means as a way to feel control. And using different brands can allow one to feel a sense of control over how other people respond.
Which is needed to cover up what is going on within, but this is of course a short term solution. So one needs to constantly keep up with the different brands and consume more of what the brands have to offer to prop up ones inner instability.
The importance of early care and nurturing cannot be denied. It is what happens during these years that largely shape who one will become as an adult. This is not to say that one has no control as an adult, but once the brain chemistry has been formed - changes are a lot harder to make. It will then depend on whether one is committed enough as an adult to make the changes.
Part of what brands do then, is compensate for the lack of psychological development that exists today. Wearing something that has been well made and looks good is perfectly normal and part of one’s self expression.
However, if one needs to wear or associate with a certain brand to feel good about themselves or worthy, then it is a sure sign that some kind of introspection needs to occur.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.