Holt: Why Do Brands Cause Trouble?Brand manager side Consumer side1. Push of branding principles 1. Brand inflation and increased to their logical extreme literacy2. …No stories untold 2. … Brand fatigue3. ”Authentic” cultural 3. Authenticity extinction resources Breakdown of distinction Untouched by modernity.. between culture and Counter culture commerce Wanted: authenticity
40 middle-class consumersEthnographically inspired studies of 40 consumers in Denmark and Sweden representing various social groups within a middle-class environmentParticipant observation, ethnographic interviews, diaries, elicitation techniques Daily eating and shopping patterns and principles Reflections on food quality Social discourses/subject positions of ”health and eating” Evaluation of brands and their credibility in terms of healthAdditional survey and experimental data
Brand (health )credibilities → the experience of this ”authenticity hoax”?
An informed consumer’s health brands ”The thing is that I would never consider buying any of these products. If I want something healthy, I rather go directly to the source instead of buying something that has been through so many processes and then mixed into a sort of product”
Producer-consumer co-creation of value“The food I eat is not branded. I mean, you would never see a commercial for broccoli would you? , so…well, then of course it is…I mean, Årstiderne is a label one could say…it is a brand…apparently”(Lene, 27, Denmark). People eat foods, not brands The co-creation of value The crafting consumer (Campbell) .. And the crafting producer
The good, the bad, and the bridging CRAFTING PRODUCER YES NO CRAFTING CONSUMER YES ROMANTIC EMPOWERED IDEAL CONSUMER NO ”GOOD” THE POWER OF THE CONVENIENCE DARK FORCE
The power of the dark force[points to a packet of industrial rye bread from Kornkammeret]“I really find it wrong that they can add all that sugar. I find it grotesque that it is impossible to get a pure product, they always add lots of things; they add additives, colourings, and apparently also sugar. I find it really grotesque. It is because it is much cheaper than doing it the healthy way” (Birgit, 41, Denmark).[asked whether she would consider buying Probio, a yogurt product from major dairy company Arla]“It is a thing I would never even consider buying. It is for those who want to be efficient, I believe it is sold as a quick solution for a healthy life. Like this ‘take this and you will be healthy the rest of your life’. I simply do not believe in it. It is so processed, and so marketed, it seems as though it has been through so many processes. This is not made thinking about the health of the people, but because this huge company Arla have found out that it gives profit” (Christine 28, Denmark).
The romantic ideal[Written in her photo diary about products she would like to buy but can’t] Mushrooms I would like to buy unpacked, by weight, fresh. Unfortunately I don’t trust quality and origin in shops and therefore I rather pass. My mum picks the mushrooms herself in the forests of Jämtland and shares the harvest with us = LUXURY! (Karin, 38, Sweden)“We really like to drive to the farm shops to see what they have, as well as to the small dairy companies. They are getting more and more popular. Then you find a product in their shop, which makes us say ‘this they make well’. And then we gladly drive 20 kilometres frequently to get it because we have found out that it tastes so good” (Gudrun 59, Denmark)
”Good” convenience“I have the feeling that products from Thise signals really good quality. Without having read much about it I believe I once met one from there at the farmers market. There was this man standing there…I said ‘hello’ to him and I remember that his hand was so rough that he looked as though he had just been out to fetch the cow himself. To me that is what [Thise] signals. For this reason it is also more expensive than usual” (Steen, 41, Denmark).“Grønnegården and Hanegal [both companies specialized in organic products] then you know that the people working there, they really want this job. It makes it more trustworthy, that there are people working that really want a good product. But I must admit, I don’t actually know Grønnegården” (Christine, 28, Denmark).
Empowered consumer“I bake my own bread. I would never buy that kind of bread [industrial bread]. When I make rye bread I buy my flour from Amo, where you just have to add yeast and water. It might not be particularly healthy, but I make it myself. I do not know about the rules for percentage of fat, but I still bake my own bread. I would never buy [industrially produced bread]” (Gudrun, 59, Denmark).[Photo diary: picture and text of what symbolizes someone she wants to invite her for dinner at that person’s home] “A jar of ginger cookies. This year the cookies are baked after my son’s God mother Beata’s old relative’s recipe. I would love to be invited home to Beata and Joakim now before Christmas, especially as she cooks such great ginger cookies and makes it so cosy. Beata shops at Netto, Domus, the market hall, in Denmark, at Ahlgrens in Lund, an eclectic mix of places. Low price and luxury mixed. She has this amazing skill to find great combinations in a balanced style. (Madeleine, 41, Sweden).
The work ethics of brand consumption Homo Faber vs Animal Laborans The creating human and the working animal (Bergson, Arendt, Sennett,…) The ”Why” and the ”How” The central role of (perceived) craftsmanship Towards a semiotics of ”authenticity” A ”leap of faith” How do we work on transforming nature? Back to the initial quote
Contrariety of GENERIC materiality ”BRAND” PRODUCEComplementarity of Complementarity oforganicity economicity ”NON- NON-GENERIC BRAND” Contrariety of PRODUCE (CRAFTED production (INDUSTRIAL PRODUCT) mode PRODUCT)BRANDED AUTHENTICITY AUTHENTICITY BRANDING
Branded authenticity / Authentic branding Homo Faber, WHY: Mission over money vs money over mission Animal Laborans, HOW: ”crafting” vs. ”industry” ”Our” consumers provide an ”experienced authenticity” Authenticity in the object or in the process of its creation? The authenticity of the generic?
Concluding critical reflections Authenticity : an analytical concept? the difference between ”one original” and ”an idea about an original” Or ”a way of talking about things in the world” (Potter) The authenticity of beauty and the beauty of authenticity An absolute quality or a relative valorization? Reflexive culture’s consequences The story of the ”pølsevogn” (Danish hot dog stand) Coke is was the real thing