Brand vs Commodity


Branding, Design and Marketing Agency
Don’t get me wrong, I am not supporting the ‘Giant Cheeto’ and this blog isn’t about the great American presidential elections. However, the dude has a point and that is exactly what we are going to explore here!

I am going to enlist all the ways in which a brand differentiates itself from a commodity.

1. A Brand creates and satisfies a yearning in the buyer’s mind whereas a commodity simply completes the need.

  • Jack is a running enthusiast.
  • Buying sports shoes is his need.
  • He could buy those from a local vendor.
  • But he chooses a certain Brand!
  • The purpose of the item is the same.

But the Brand has created a sense of comfort in which Jack now yearns and does not feel satisfied with any other products!

While commodities focus on meeting your needs Brands work really hard to make you feel their need!

2. ‘Products are made in factories; Brands are made in minds’, says Herb Lubalin.

Just how right is that?

Most of the designer clothes (Which are worth a country’s food budget for a month) are made in the likes of those countries. And more often than not, by the people who can’t even pronounce the names of these labels!

However, the moment you see those fancy tags, the zeros attached to the price start disappearing! Such is the power of a brand.

A brand grants you social status, it creates a sense of empowerment and it makes you worthy of attention.

Bloody superficial, right? But this is what gets the money rolling!

3. Brand promises and delivers. Commodities don’t get into this stuff!

And when it fails to do so, it loses credibility!

Remember what happened with Maggi? Or with Cadbury’s Dairy Milk a few years ago?

For years these have been the brands that parents have trusted their kids with! And then they messed up! Parents were not happy! And the market suffered!

Now, a commodity promises no values, sets no expectations, captures no particular market and does not bother about taking any corrective measures just to retain the consumers! Because eventually, cabbage is cabbage is a cabbage! It has no brand!

4. Commodity works at a functional level while a Brand pokes your emotions!

A commodity generates revenue by simply selling itself whereas a brand sells emotions! Emotional appeal is directly proportional to the time and money spent on the brand. More appeal means more revenue! Simple!

Salt is a commodity but when you buy Tata Namak, you are suddenly being highly patriotic, because you are buying Desh Ka Namak.

Now while I wonder how eating salt commercially produced by a particular brand makes me patriotic, I doubt if many think about it! And that is exactly what brands do to you. They make an appeal to the most vulnerable emotion and encash it!


How would you feel if Sir Rajinikanth panicked about a couple of goons stalking him? Or Lady Gaga started wearing normal clothes and accessories? Or if Miley Cyrus started wearing clothes! Or if KRK stopped being! Or if Rakhi Sawant made sense?

You won’t be able to relate with them anymore, right?

That is because these names have become brands. They have a particular image in the minds of the crowds that adore them! This image has been derived out of certain personality traits that they have shown over their public time and gradually these traits have become synonymous with them!

Sounds interesting, eh? So can we safely say that brands have a personality?

The answer is, YES. And it is in fact this personality that grants them the enormous power that they exercise on the consumers!

Consumers want to able to relate with a brand, to find similar traits, to have the brand define them! A buyer will never buy anything that is either above or below their self-image. Because it simply doesn’t match! And the mismatch causes discomfort. Nobody wants to pay for discomfort!

However, while consumers show exceptional loyalty to the brands they relate with, it is also a common practice for them to switch as soon as the brands start to drift apart. A brand must always stay on the same page with the consumer if it wants to have a long term relation with them.

A brand’s lifecycle depends on whether or not it is ready to change with the changing times!


Wait for the next post!

Before signing out for today, I have to tell you this. In my honest opinion, Trump is merely a commodity, a high priced one for sure, but he ain’t no brand! 😀