Premium brands are a myth: part two

5 Sep

So for the few who did read my post yesterday (Yes, you are the privileged audience of one :p) about why I feel “Premium brands are a myth”, here is part two of the post.

For those who didn’t, you can read the post here.


How do you define ‘premium’ as a definitive?

For the longest time, I thought Burberry was the most “premium” perfume out there.

I was proven wrong when my girlfriend (scratch that, ex-girlfriend) suddenly turned into the ‘hardworking employee who has no time for love’ (or later proven, just me) after a bottle of burberry was my “you will start jumping with joy” valentine’s day gift for her.


Other than ‘never buy perfume for a girl’, the lesson is “premium” is a relative term.

Marketing 101 will teach you that you cannot build a brand on something relative or undefined (premium is a relative term).

A brand needs to be build on an undeniable truth. Something concrete. Fungible. Tangible.


If you still feel that being being expensive and exclusive is enough to build a brand then the last question that I have for you is:  Is ‘premium’ enough to build preference?


India has become the world’s favorite marketplace with all of the world’s premium brands setting up shop here (Yes, let’s forget the rupee’s affinity for slide games for a minute).

All of them have similar foreign anorexic girls (or guys, you just can’t tell) and similar un-pronounceable names (Stell-Ah Ar-Twahs, Kin-Eh-Res, Give-en-chee, Ho-gar-den)

Today, very few people say that “It’s either XYZ or nothing” when choosing clothes or apparel.

Most people have a brand portfolio of ‘acceptable brands’ for themselves (“Darling, get me anything from Palladium for my birthday and don’t pull your lawyer tricks on me. I am being specific – Palladium not Phoenix mills”).


“Premium” may be an entry point into this portfolio but it is not going to be enough to build preference.

Why should someone pick your ‘premium’ brand store and not the other ‘premium’ brand store right next to yours in the same ‘premium’ shopping complex?


So for the marketing managers reading this post:  if your “let’s launch a new brand” presentation begins with a modern masterpiece of colours, charts and numbers with a microscopic white-space marked as “pricing to launch premium brand” then you know it’s time to click on “create new presentation” :)


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