Skip to main content

Why brands should worry about conspicuous consumption: The curious case of ‘W’.

I point out to the missus that Kurtas from Brand W are available on Flipkart at bargain prices. I tell her it’s probably the best (lowest) it can get for W’s prices. Missus isn’t impressed. I am surprised. After all, I’ve seen a few Ws in the wardrobe. So why isn’t she taking the bait? Turns out, the patterns on the Kurtas aren’t unique anymore, and it seems the teeming masses are all wearing the same styles from W making it even more commonplace. Now that’s a no-no to all those who don’t want their personal image to ‘drown’ amongst the crowds. To put it differently, if you are trying to stand out, and hoping your kurta brand (or any other piece of apparel you’ve draped yourself with) will enable you to do that, maybe W is not the one you should patronize. At least that seems to be the line, according to the missus.

Which brings me to my point for today; what should all the conspicuously consumed brands that you take to, do for you (if you wanted them to)? In Jungian language, that question should be rephrased as, what persona should the conspicuous brands you patronize be able to build and display for you? The answer; aid you to spin and adorn an image you aspire for in public social settings. Marketing and Economics will tell you anything aspirational needs to be rare. The more commonplace something is, the less it is desired.

From a business and marketing perspective, I get W’s dilemma. Scaling up and spreading stores and merchandise all over helps in leveraging scale economies to lower costs. However such spreads gnaw away at the aspirational identity a brand tries to endow on itself. If W is for women, I’d advise the brand to listen what my missus is saying (more so, considering they want to be a ‘lifestyle’ brand).

If the brand takes heed, it should cut back on lot sizes of a particular design, and churn out more variety at limited quantities. Oh and yes, it should get to doing that, pronto!


Popular posts from this blog

Situational Involvement of Consumers

There are two types of involvement that consumers have with products and services, Situational and Enduring. Situational involvement as the term suggests, occurs only in specificsituations whereas Enduring involvement is continuous and is more permanent in nature.

Decisions to buy umbrellas in India are driven by the onset of Indian monsoon. Monsoon rains arrived in India over the South Andaman Sea on May 10 and over the Kerala coast on May 28, three days ahead of schedule. But then, after a few days of rain, South India is witnessing a spate of dry weather. Temperatures are soaring in the north of India. The Umbrella companies in the state of Kerala are wishing for the skies to open up. So is the farming community and manufacturers of rural consumer products whose product sales depend totally on the farming community. The Met. department has deemed this dry spell as 'not unusual'.

India's monsoon rains have been static over the southern coast since last Tuesday because of a…

Prior Hypothesis Bias

Prior Hypothesis bias refers to the fact that decision makers who have strong prior beliefs about the relationship between two variables tend to make decisions on the basis of those beliefs, even when presented with the evidence that their beliefs are wrong. Moreover, they tend to use and seek information that is consistent with their prior beliefs, while ignoring information that contradicts these beliefs.

From a strategic perspective, a CEO who has a strong prior belief that a certain strategy makes sense might continue to pursue that strategy, despite evidence that it is inappropriate or failing.

Ref : Strategic Management : An Integrated Approach, 6e, Charles W L Hill, Gareth R Jones

Wearing Cuba means Walking Cuba

There's something ethereal about wearing 'Cuba'. Suddenly its the streets of Havana, smoke filled and lit by the groovin', more than the lights. The bars are packed to hilt and dreamy women seem to glide by. The feeling's beyond magical.

How did I get there?

Before I explain, I gotta tell you about the power of brands to take you places. Brands bring with them an ability to prompt you to conjure up the unreal. They can transform your reality into fantasy. And consumers are more than willing partners to brands as the drudgery they face in everyday life begs an injection of fantasy. Brands that operate in a zone of the unreal do the conjuring act as there's nothing else that consumers can call for, while making judgements. For instance, what should I be judging the lip paint on? Its colour and tone or its ability to turn me into a diva?

Cuba's a perfume. The moment I wear it, I am traipsing the streets of Havana. Its smoke filled bars I see. Its music I hear and…