Pi Attitude Zone: Affiliation & Cohesion

Branding And Friending Diverge

A survey conducted by Britain’s Guardian newspaper suggested that people in the UK can be “made happy” by particular brands.  Two-thirds of respondents were able to name a brand that “made them happy”, with retailers like the John Lewis store chain and Marks & Spencer taking the top positions.  Online retailer Amazon was in third position, implying that there is a clear attitudinal correlation in British minds between shopping (whether in bricks-and-mortar stores or on the internet) and feeling good.

These feelings were triggered by favorite brands in other product sectors too, such as food & beverage and wearing apparel.  The Guardian’s insight manager commented that “brands can apparently... influence people’s sense of well-being.  They have high expectations of how companies should behave, rewarding brands that meet these expectations”.

But wait.  What does “happiness” actually mean in this context?  Pi wonders if the Guardian’s findings can be taken at face value, in view of another study of British students and young people, this one from The Beans Group

In the second survey, young Britons emerged as not really being interested in ‘having a conversation’ with brands: their interest, if any, was sparked more by the prospect of free giveaways or discounts.  Said James Eder, the study’s initiator, “They want either material gain – free products, a good discount or a winnable competition – or they want to be entertained.  That's pretty much it." 

Pi asks:  where does brand interest stop and self-interest begin?  All that “friending” of brands may just be cupboard love...

Zone: Affiliation & Cohesion Country: Europe Product – Communications