April 27, 2008
I was rather amazed that the new thermostats installed in my apartment came with a large brand name tacked onto the front. I just don't get it. It's unattractive, doesn't fit with product and doesn't seem to serve any purpose. These are the very lowest end thermostats available, I don't think anyone would ever look at them and seek them out at the store, more than likely they would specifically avoid them. What makes it stranger yet is that the brand name on the cover doesn't match the brand stamped into the working components behind. To top it all off, the thermostats are inaccurate by at least 10°C.
As I thought about the branding on the thermostats, it strikes me that nearly every product has branding on it. Often it's a small, unobtrusive label but it seems that many products have added increasingly intrusive branding to the products' design. I certainly understand the traditional theories behind brands and their ongoing, if decreasing, effectiveness. But for many products, the brand really has no value, no recognition and the branding effectively decreases the products' value in my opinion. I've experienced situations where the branding ruined the products' design or look and made me look elsewhere.
The other thing that strikes me as odd, is the smaller players constantly changing brands and images. Even the larger players are often guilty of this. Without a clear, consistent brand and image, there is no hope of generating any benefits from the branding.
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