Why Your Time is Valuable
Wired recently posted an article about modern wristwatch designs
that, in addition to coinciding with our September story on the same subject, got me thinking about value. For most people, the main function of a watch is also its least-used function; sitting at my desk, I can see the time from three different sources, all more easily viewed than my watch. Yet every morning standing in front of my chest of drawers, I go through the same ritual of making sure I have everything I need on me:
One of these things is not like the others. While I need the first three for obvoius reasons, the watch serves no practical purpose. Yet on the rare days I forget to wear it or I misplace it, I feel naked, and end up looking at my bare wrist more than I'd ever actually look at the watch itself.
When I purchased my watch four years ago, there were two main factors in deciding to buy it: the design and the brand (accuracy was never a consideration; have you ever wondered how well a watch told time before buying it?). The above article focuses on the former, discussing how many designers are rethinking the watch not as a time-telling device but as an artist extension of one's personality. The video on the page shows some conceptual watches that stand out as unique and had me thinking about them long after, particularly the hypnotic spiral watch, and are excellent examples of contemporary designs that could make a brand stand out.
And that's why I'm here, to talk about branding and value. Another Wired article, “Why Do We Care About Luxury Brands?” discusses the psychology behind authenticity, and why we value it even when faced with a comparable facsimile. It's absolutely worth the five minutes it will take to read, and to whet your appetite, here is the last paragraph which brings the most salient points of the post to a head:
“Although we outgrow stuffed animals, we never get beyond the irrational logic of authenticity and essentialism. There are certain things whose value depends largely on their legitimacy. While I might listen to bootleg music on my iPhone, I want the phone to be genuine. I want that Apple logo to be real. Why? Because the brand has effectively woven itself into my emotional brain. Because when I see that logo, I don’t see a functional object. Instead, I’ve learned to respond to everything that isn’t functional, all those subtle connotations conveyed in the glossy ads. There are many blankets in the world. But there is only one blankie. The best brands are blankies.”
My watch is more than just a timepiece, and chances are, you own at least one or two items that fall into the same category. This kind of branding, common in retail, can show us a thing or two about how promotional products can create the same real connections with end-users. Read the article, and then answer this question: What are you doing to turn your clients' brands into blankies?