Modest Style

Waking Up to Brand Consciousness

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Do you find yourself buying branded items that go well beyond your budget?

Waking Up to Brand Consciousness
A colourful selection of unbranded paper bags – prettier than plastic! Image: Nextweb

Why do we buy popular high-end branded items? Are they multi-purpose, or can they transform into other products?

To determine whether you are brand-conscious, look at the things you own and have purchased this past year, as compared to previous years. Do you look for the image that the product gives, or do you make your decision based on its function?

Let’s face it, sometimes unbranded items can look as great and be of just as good quality as their branded counterparts, minus the hefty price tag. Some people buy branded products to raise their social status or to give off a good impression of themselves.

I’m not saying it’s wrong. In fact, if you have the means to do so, why not? But have you ever thought about where the money spent on a high-end pair of heels goes? For starters, much of it goes to the bank account of the brand ambassador selected to market, advertise and sell the brand. Little goes to the actual workers in the factories.

I’m not saying that we should stop buying branded goods. Instead, become a smart consumer and evaluate your priorities before purchasing anything expensive. For instance, you can see such purchases as an investment. If you want to splurge on a high-end watch that you will use every day and then pass down to your children and grandchildren, then go for it.  In this case, you could very well be maximising the money spent on a high quality watch.

But a pair of heels that costs half of your monthly salary might need some evaluation. After all, whether $20 or $200, if you lose interest in a pair of shoes after a few months of use, is it worth it?

As brand-consciousness takes off, we find teenagers and young adults who have not even obtained financial freedom goading their parents to fulfil their wants – just to fit in at school. I have even come across a few kids who want to eat at McDonalds every time they pass the fast food chain on the streets, instead of the more satisfying selection of local dishes – which are also much more affordable.

Countering this phenomenon of brand-consciousness has to begin at home. Parents can nurture a positive environment by showing children what a good product can do, instead of how it makes them look.

Teach children how to repair, recycle, revamp or even make DIY items, rather than purchase a brand new replacement. A major bonus to such hands-on education, is that not only will you bond with them, but that you raise a new generation of smart consumers.

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