Hello Thea, remember what your fiend said about brands?! I just want to tell you a quick and simple story that you might be able to pass it on to him, make him see the world a bit different...
Brands are what we make out of them, a trend a fab or just simply a product. We all ascribe greater value to things we perceived - rationally or not- to be in some way or another special. Lets say today is your birthay, and as a kind gesture I gift you a beautifull wrapped box. While you undo the paper, you remove a small grey rock. Dull, average, ugly the sort of rock you might see lying on the side of a road.
Your thinking - "Thanks a lot"
But, what if I proceed and tell you that this isn't just a any rock, your holding, but one-of-a-kind rock, a historical symbol from the Berlin Wall. A fragment of it that was smuggled out of country days after the wall's destruction in 1989. You now have in your possession a talisman symbolizing the end of the cold war.
You say - "Thanks a lot", this time truly meaning it.
After a moment goes by, I tell you then that I was just kidding and that the rock does not come from the Berlin Wall. That it is even more exceptional than that.
The rock that you have in your hand is an authentic moon rock, a chunk of the roughly six ounces of lunar detritus that Neil Armstrong and his fellow astronauts brought back home with them during their 1969 Apollo 11 mission. A moon rock is a pretty special present, pretty exquisite.
Your shocked, genuinely overcome.
The fact of the matter is that I found the rock by the side of the road, put it in my pocket and threw it in a box. Apart from being a miracle of geology and tectonic plates and all that, it's just a rock.
But once I stamped it with certain properties-historical significance, geological rarity, whatever it is- it became so much more. In other words, when we brand things, our brains perceive them as more special and valuable than they actually are. This is why the art of branding does make a difference, the product fulfills our needs and wants, but it is the branding that makes us appeal to it, or chose over one or the other:)