There is no brand that perfectly aligns with my values and that was not always obvious to me.
Brand engagement and brand marketing is a huge industry and businesses spend countless millions in firstly designing a brand strategy and secondly implementing that strategy.
There was a time when brands were distinct from their business. These days, brands, and businesses are used interchangeably. For example, Apple is a business, but it also is a brand. Over the last 5 years, Apple, the business has moved away from its in house brands like iTunes and iBooks to Apple Music and Apple Books. Today, the Apple brand at its core is privacy first. That's what most of the Apple advertising is portraying. However, five years, Apple was trying to highlight how they are the only company that makes hardware and software together resulting in a unified and more integrated user experience.
My alignment with brands has taken a serious hit in recent times, where businesses are demonstrating an increasing drive towards profits at the expense of what I believed to be “our” values.
The fundamental difference between brands and mere civilians is that brands will always be motivated by profits and mere civilians are not.
With that said, I appreciate what the following brands/businesses are doing for mankind:
- Apple: championing user privacy and initiative into improving health and well-being
- Google: providing best in class services for free to everyone on this planet: Gmail, Google Photos, Maps, Search etc. Yes, users are giving up their privacy to some extent. This does not take away from Google that millions are using their service daily without paying a single cent. Google can say that, but Apple cannot.
- M&M's: regardless of my age, I have always been a fan of M&M's. Two things: I do not share M&M’s and the yellow ones are better.
- Leica: I do not have a Leica camera or any camera for that matter. However, the Leica brand is of great interest to me. There is something about the Leica brand that is grabbing my attention. Perhaps, it's the German built, the quality lens, the focus on photography, the simplicity of their product..... I am not sure 🤔
- SONOS: I appreciate a focused business. A business that is doing one thing and does it extremely well. For Sonos, it's in home audio solution. It's also very cool that the SONOS name is a Palindrome (meaning it reads/pronounced the same spelled backwards and forwards).
Note: Just because a brand is doing something good does not mean they have my loyalty. My loyalty is with my family, friends, and my country. I am not loyal to any of the above brands (except maybe M&M’s) because they all do things that does not sit well with me.
There are people who buy something because its branded and is a status symbol. It's pretty easy to pick these people from a crowd because they visually will appear to be a walking/talking advertising board.
Personally, I seek brands that do not brand their products. For example, the pants and top I am wearing as I write this does not have its brand plastered on it. I want others to do the same. I noticed the Apple AirPods Max also do not have the Apple branding on it as opposed to the Sony headphones that had Sony printed in gold.
Why should I pay for something, only to show others and do the advertising for them? What exactly am I getting in return? If your product is good/unique/stands out, people will know without you plastering your brand on it. Take Apple AirPods Max, it has a distinctive look compared to other headphones and people know it's the Apple AirPods Max.
My advice, brands have a specific motive and as such, it's never a good idea to align yourself to a brand, unless it's your job to do so. MAYBE NOT EVEN THEN!