Just In Time Branding

Many years ago, I was having a conversation with a person involved with a union in a large organization, and talking about amount/value of work vs. pay. They were explaining that when you’re young, you’re underpaid, during the middle of your career, you’re paid about correctly, and later in your career, you’re overpaid.

Putting aside the fact that this seems very unfair (speaking as a ‘younger person’), and that this feels like a large arbitrage opportunity (as corporate downsizers discovered in the ’80s), this got me thinking about brands.

Brands are an interesting thing. At their most fundamental, they are an attempt to trade consumer resources for a reduction in risk*. However, brands have a startup cost. Early on, before they are established, they have to work really hard to convince people to trust them, then they can last a long time with higher pricing and higher quality (or at least a very specific level of quality). Sometimes they are purchased, and go into decline**.

I had originally wanted to make this post about how humans seem to have a common intellectual fallacy about established brands, and how opinion tends to lag fact, but the title feels more interesting to me.

Are Yelp and all the other review sites just really all about Just In Time branding? Are brands getting stronger or weaker?

*Perhaps humans naturally understand derivatives trading?

**I was going to use Fruitopia as an example here of a brand purchased and then run into the ground, but it seems it was Coca-Cola all along: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fruitopia

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