Everything else.. A Quest for Individuality or a Chase to Belong To a Norm?

A Quest for Individuality or a Chase to Belong To a Norm?

2016 Jun 22

by Azraa Killru


Brand craze, or brand obsession is a well-known phenomenon the world has blissfully slipped into. Be it a car, a mobile phone, clothing, accessories or even coffee – recognized brands tend to give the user a better feeling. Reason? Plenty of reasons exist. So here are a few opinions from some of our Lankan youth.

They were asked the following questions:

  1. Why do you think people are obsessed with brands? What makes you choose branded goods?
  2. Do you think brands have separated people? Is it a good thing?
  • “Brands create a sort of social identity. Not only within clothes, but even owning a branded mobile to eating out at a branded restaurant, is considered classy. It makes someone live the high life.”
    “It depends on the people and the area in which you live. But within Lanka it hasn’t created a separation and I don’t think it applies to any part of the world. It’s just a perception by social media to be so.” (Tharaha)
  • “Some brands project high quality.”
    “Only the elite can afford brands so in a way yes. But then replicas come into play… So even the non-elite could consume the branded things at an affordable price.” (Yaharshi)
  • “I think people are obsessed with brands mainly for status. I love branded goods for the same reason and also for its quality. You can use those products for a long time.”
    “Yes, it has definitely separated people. I think it has a negative impact and it’s not a good thing.” (Anonymous)
  • “I am not a brand-fan! So I can’t certainly say why people are obsessed with brands. Perhaps because we have come to associate power, reputation and money with brands. Considering how our country is all about reputation, maybe it’s one of the factors which determines brand purchasing.”
    “I think it has the power to separate people but is not the only deciding factor. It’s our mindset above all else that gives brands their perceived power, so, in an essence I feel people can/cannot be separated by brands based in their individual perception.” (Sandali)
  • “Branded goods are comfortable than unbranded ones.  Using branded products protects us. For e.g. we can avoid infections and diseases caused by goods like shoes, watches, shower gels, shampoos and even clothing. Bad quality goods via generic brands can lead to skin problems.”
    “We can’t say whether it is good or bad due to the health and skin issues, for instance. However anyone using branded goods may make people who can’t afford it feel left out.” (Fazmeer)
  • “I choose a branded product due to its assured quality.”
    “I think it’s not the brands that separate people. There are people who buy brands to separate themselves from others while some purchase it to be included in a particular social group. So no – it’s not the brand that has the problem. It’s the people who cannot accept others’ choices.”(Anonymous)
  • “In a world running behind Iphone and Samsung, I used to be BlackBerry and now Chinese phone. Just so you know where I stand in the brand line.” (Khansa)
  • “Brands are built through marketing that invokes emotions and trust. I associate product quality and a chance to aim blame with brands.”
    “No, brands have not separated people. People have. If the only reason they go for a brand is to be of a different social class (outward show of it) then it is the fault of the people. Most branded goods I buy does not even have the brand prominently displayed. Those that have it prominently, are still valued to me practically than a social message. Are there brands that aim at exclusivity? YES! Do I buy them? NO, because that is not my aim. My aim is to get a good quality practical product. Can a generic maker do the same? Yes, but let me tell you, very soon that “generic” maker becomes a brand if the product is good enough.” (Suranga)
  • “According to an average class (middle or low class) person’s point, the ones who prefer branded products are considered as those with high living standards.”(Raash)
  • “Brands determine the quality and the standards of the product one could count on. It helps one to select easily out of the many number of products available. Some indeed purchase based on the pricing and the attention one would gain based on the brand’s recognition over the globe.”
    “Brands enable people to have different choices and I don’t think it separates people in a larger scale however based on people’s minds upon the class a person would be, there could be a separation.” (Kanishka)
  • “Brands give consumers the opportunity to make a statement to others. Some people are indeed obsessed with brands. They tend to stick to a particular brand even though the competing one is pretty much the same. For me, it’s not an obsession to a particular brand but my preference of one over the other. I guess it’s a subconscious thing that people get obsessed to.”
    “I don’t think brands separate people. I guess people are smart enough to get along with one other irrespective of which brands they use. But I think there is a level of influence that brands have in creating a common perception.” (Mushal)
  • “People pick brands due to the trust factor. They can rely on it and feel safe about it. The trend, social acceptance and maintaining a personal image also play a role.”
    “Brands have separated people and it is a good thing because this makes firms compete to offer the best to consumers” (Riyaz)
  • “Brands cause for recognition. You know it’s authentic and is of genuine quality and is most of the time to show-off.”
    “Brands don’t separate people but price does I guess.” (Sa’ad)
  • “Mainly the quality consciousness- The psychological factor that branded ones are known for its quality and uniqueness. Social factors – Image, reputation and prestige. Sometimes it’s an addiction built through brand loyalty and people don’t want to switch to anything cheaper even if other aspects are same.”
    “Yes, brands do divide people into classes. Comparatively high glass people go for more branded ones as they are relatively expensive thus affordability matters. Brands are still considered to be luxury goods especially in developing countries like Sri Lanka. My point of view is that it is a negative thing as it marginalizes the people in the society, which brings about complexity issues.” (Rummana)
  • “Two reasons for brand obsession – status and quality. I prefer it for its high quality.”
    “Yes, they do. People who choose branded products rarely go for unbranded ones.” (Nafla)
  • “Brands provide peace of mind. Saves decision making time. Creates difference – Kapilapenawa!
    “It has separated people. There is something called Ego Stroking. Sometimes you make a purchase to impress or attract others by owning something superior. To look like an expert aficionado to meet a standard of social status, often exceeding what’s realistically affordable to make it at least seem like you operate at a higher level.” (Zahra)
  • “Majority of Sri Lankans purchase branded products for the sake of being classy. Some are influenced by celebrity endorsements. The truth is you are supporting celebrities who have an endless bank account balance, while neglecting the small scale businesses who do it for their daily survival. We are in the era of technology and Online shopping has created the necessity for the purchase of branded products as its authenticity is guaranteed.” (Nabeel)

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