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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars `How do I define brand?', 25 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy (Paperback)
`Well, in my line of work I look at life through a particular lens: one that sees virtually everything on earth - from the cell phones and computers we use to the watches and clothes we wear to the movies we watch and books we read to the foods we eat to the celebrities and sports teams we worship - as a brand. A form of ID. A statement to the world about who we are or who we wish to be. In short, in today's marketing-and advertising-saturated world, we cannot escape brands.' (Martin Lindstrom)

My own definition of brand is narrower: a type of product (eg mobile phone) manufactured by a company under a particular name (eg Apple iPhone). But then, I'm not a marketer, just a consumer.

However, being aware of Mr Lindstrom's definition makes it far easier to see how brands are essentially emotional triggers that seek to influence our purchasing decisions and often succeed in doing so. What attracts us to a particular brand, and is it possible to become addicted to a brand? What are the tricks used by companies to gain our attention and retain our purchasing loyalty?
Consider the example of a shopping mall chain in Asia, where, after owners noticed expectant mothers spent a lot of time shopping, began experimenting with the unconscious power of smell and sound. About twelve months after they stared their experiment (which included the smell of baby powder in areas that sold clothing, the smell of cherry where food and drink was sold, and soothing music the expectant mothers would recognise) they started receiving letters from mothers who noticed that their babies calmed down when in the mall.

I particularly liked the chapter on nostalgia marketing: yes, those fond memories of the past (accurate or not) can really influence purchasing decisions we make now. Perhaps living in the past is not such a bad thing after all.

There's a reminder, too, for those of us who need it that the digital age has provided a virtual gold mine for data miners to explore and exploit. And we even help them: through the use of loyalty cards and the use of various social networking sites such as facebook and foursquare.

I think that being aware of some of the ways in which marketers work is useful information to have -especially if you want to choose how to adapt to the branding in your life. There's a lot of interesting information in this book: from the role of fear (the purchasing of hand sanitisers during the H1N1 virus) and the power of craving (we know not to shop for food when hungry, but there's a lot more to craving than food).

I found this book easy to read and while I was aware of some of the marketing ploys used, there were plenty of others to think about. If you are interested in the role of marketing in the purchasing decisions you make, you may well be interested in reading this book.

Note: I was offered, and accepted, a copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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