Brand is where the heart is

December 20, 2013

Not everyone interprets brands the same way. Brands are about the experiences created around them. Holiday brands are a perfect example of experience diversity.

As the holidays approach, I am asking my parents the annual question of “what would you like.” Now, my parents are well-educated, fiscally responsible and aware people, but quite simple in their needs. My mom responds she would like: Baileys Irish Cream, an Olive Garden gift certificate, or a nice scarf. This is probably the same list she provided to my two sisters and probably the same list we’ll get next year at this time. My dad answers with: He has everything he needs. When my friends and co-workers ask how my holiday shopping is progressing, they laugh at these lists I have received.

I live in New York City. The mecca of fashion, luxury brands, access to anything and everything, and consumerism at its finest. So, while most people assume I'm buying flashy gifts in the Big Apple, I am quite content skipping the hassle of long lines, endless trips from crowded store to crowded store, not spending next month’s paycheck, packing an over extended carry on only to be charged for its size or rushing to meet the shipping deadlines to get my items home on time.

Instead, I’ll probably buy their gifts on December 24th in the big box stores and local shops in the small town I grew up in. I am happy to support the local community and randomly catch up with old high school classmates I haven’t seen in 15 years as I cruise the store aisles. My parents are just as happy to receive and open gifts they could easily buy for themselves.

Does this make me a bad daughter? Does this make me a bad consumer? Or does this make me aware the holidays could just be considered big hype to promote spending when it is really about the gathering of family and friends and being kind to others. For my parents, the ideal and priceless gift is having their three grown daughters who live in New York, San Diego, and Columbus gathered under one roof together for more than 48 hours.

In a month, when my parents travel the 30 miles to the closet Olive Garden and when I receive a text pic of my mom enjoying her chicken parmigiana, I’ll smile and know they are happy. More so then if I had bought them a fancy watch or expensive garment they would rarely have occasion to wear.

Sometimes it is more about the simple experience than the name on a box. What are the brand experiences you'll share over the holidays?

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