So, I’m studying marketing, as you may or may not know.
I became interested in it because it helped me better understand the underlying urges or intentions beneath product purchases, fashion choices or lifestyle decisions. We like products and services and brands not just because they work well or they’re affordable, but because they further tell a story about who we are, or at least, who we think we are.
The classes that I’ve taken over the past few quarters got me thinking, what are some of the brands and products that have impacted my life and my identity?
I posed the question as an ice-breaker at Phonathon the other day. The responses were interesting. For one, a lot of guys wear Old Spice deodorant, more than you’d expect, probably. But you gotta ask yourself, do they buy it because they enjoy the smell, or because of what it represents? (You’ve all seen the commercial, I’m sure) But also, someone mentioned loving a cereal brand because they grew up eating it. So, there’s obviously a buttload of complex reasons why people buy any given products that they do, or subscribe to whatever services they use.
In this blog post, I will explore 4 brands and products that I feel represent me. A lot of my ruminating comes from what I’ve learned in my IMC 301: Consumer Insight class, that I took with Michelle Weinberger during spring quarter of my sophomore year.
My family grew up on PC’s. I remember my dad teaching me how to use our old monitor at home and even telling me a little bit of history about Microsoft. I remember loving Encarta, an interactive Microsoft encyclopedia program. Its distinctive bright green color scheme still persists in my mind.
My first laptop was a small, bright red ASUS. During my senior year, my high school implemented a 1:1 laptop program, and I received a gorgeous Macbook Pro. What I did to deserve that magnificent device, I will never know, but it never really felt quite me. I also found myself having trouble transitioning from the PC format to the Apple one. Luckily, I was able to get some sort of program installed so that I could use a PC setting. (I believe it was called Bootcamp.) From then, I moved onto a sturdier, plain grey Acer, that I’ve been using ever since and that has served me incredibly well in college.
Would I ever switch to a Mac? Probably not at this point, unless someone went out of their way to buy one for me, but if I had to buy another laptop, I’d stick with a PC. It’s what I’ve been using for years, and it’s what I’m comfortable with and used to. To me, it feels simple and functional, two meanings that don’t immediately come to mind when I think of Macs.
Old Navy flip flops
While everyone at my high school wore Rainbow flip flops, I continued to opt for Old Navy’s plain, $3-6 flip flops in neutral colors like black, dark blue or grey. They matched with everything and seemed to hold up to rocky surfaces despite the low price. And you know how flip flops are, you get tempted to wade through a strong river just once and your shoe gets swept away in the current forever. My point is that flip flops are meant to get dirty, lost or broken, so going back to the same low-cost but reliable brand is my default purchase decision.
Jenn Im – Clothes Encounters
People can absolutely be brands. I don’t think much of my marketing classes so far have touched on it, but I’ve definitely heard a lot and have grown personally interested in the concept of personal branding.
I’ve been following Jenn Im for years, and have witnessed her grow so much over the years. She’s done a wonderful job establishing a strong brand presence on Youtube. She’s fun and bubbly, but her taste in clothing is absolutely KILLER. She has great music taste, travels and does a host of other cool things that makes her the perfect brand ambassador for skincare and makeup brands like Smashbox, Simple Skincare and Glamglow. Her endorsement of these brands affirms that the products pair well with busy, empowered women like Jenn. On top of these, she has a ton of sponsored videos from clothing brands such as Target and H&M.
She’s established herself as a fashion and lifestyle expert on Youtube, has amassed a lot of support on social media (I follow her on Instagram and Snapchat) and I’ve fallen in love with the whole Jenn Im vibe/feel.
I’ve tried out a lot of different mascaras, but something special happened the time I purchased my first tube of L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara, the waterproof version. Especially when you start any new tube of mascara, it just glides on so easily and effortlessly. Your lashes tend to look best in the first few days, but this brand has me essentially hooked for life. I’ve tried higher-end, more expensive brands like Benefit’s They’re Real, as well as a bunch of other drugstore brands.
For me, its the tried and true effectiveness of the product, not really the brand. In fact, sometimes when I run out and need to repurchase it, I have to go back and double check the name of the brand and product, because I can never remember it.
Check back with me in 10 years or so, and I bet I’ll be wearing this same brand.
Which brands are meaningful to you?
Here’s a lot of good music. If you like any of these songs, comment down below!