I'm not normally one for wordy analysis , but one thing which has really hit me in the last few weeks is my own sense of brand familiarity.
New experiences are great, but sometimes all we really want is something familiar and comforting, like the trusty Hoisin Duck wraps from M&S (british super-market). So, it's been interesting these last few weeks to be emersed in unrecognisable logos, and confusing menus. Being here in Chicago has meant that I've paid much more attention to where I eat, drink and shop, often looking for something familiar to identify with, consciously or not. Being surrounded by a totally new set of brands can be a daunting prospect, and so I've experienced a lot more active decision making than I normally would in the UK (like my decision default Hoisin wrap).
To overcome a potential customer's anxieties the pull to spend needs to be large, and the setting unintimidating. In the modern age we are surrounded by choice, so even a little bit of uncertainty in a potential customer is enough to cause them to continue walking down the the road for other options. Obviously a good product is vital for a business, but the consumers feelings and first impressions have their impact well before the product is even in their hands. Clever marketing is vital in a world with such a ridiculous amount of choice.
I naively presumed that I was above the lure of marketing campaigns.
We are saturated with brands and their personalities from the begining of our lives, and it's almost impossible to imagine what our world would be like without them. With this in mind the closest we can really get to identifying this brand feeling would be to jump into a land where all brands are new to us. We start afresh. So, in order to gain a more objective viewpoint we need to travel.