We had a couple of interesting discussions with two CEO's of major corporations lately over the question of the value of brand in today's retail environment.
There are two school of thoughts in regards to this issue, on one side, the established view held by the CEOs was that, the brand is everything - if you build the brand, you will secure a connection to consumers that should last forever. On the other hand, our view is that while brand is important, in today's ever shifting retail environment, the rise of internet and mobile has changed how consumers perceive things, and brand will soon become second fiddle to great designs and awesome value.
To understand this, you can simply ask yourself - Which brand out there you would without a doubt, purchase anything that comes your way with its logo on it? In addition, when you buy off the internet, do you decide based on the look of the product or the brand first?
There's no question brands play an increasingly important role with emerging economies, if you buy a name brand purse at its namesake store, the history and quality connected to its brand will undoubtedly give you the warm fussy feeling that it was money well spent, and it's of genuine quality. But with the growth of the internet, it inadvertently trained all of us to be expert buyers, since on a daily basis we flip through hundreds of looks, while scouring globally with minimal time and effort spent, so we no longer depend on the brand to tell us what is good or not.
What this boils down to, is design matters. People will give new brands a chance if they can come up with a designs that stand out. In addition, while having an established brands is great, but having brand recognition is no longer an assurance of its draw power if its products are not authentic or innovative.