Just How Cluttered Is the Brand Landscape?

With the Hundreds of Products and Services We Use Daily, We May Be Asking Too Much of Consumers

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We've all read the articles about brands having to cut through the clutter of advertising. This got me thinking: Not only do we have to compete for attention in the advertising realm, but also in the daily interaction with brands by our target audiences. Are consumers drowning in this sea of brands?

So I decided to do a little experiment and count the number of brands I interact with in a single day, a Wednesday to be specific. The results were staggering. I was at 96-plus different brands by 8:15 a.m. The full list -- generated between 5:15 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. -- consisted of 147 brands, products or services. I'm sure I forgot to list some brands I used or encountered during the day, but you get the idea.

It's ridiculous how many "things" I use on a daily basis. It's even more ridiculous that I buy so many things. And to top it off, I had to look closely at almost every item to determine what the brand name was. I didn't even know the brand name of the baby wipes I've been using every day for the past 10 months.

So my job as a branding professional is to shape the perception and position of my client's brand in the heart and mind of the target audience. I'm also supposed to convince this consumer to visit the brand website (or Facebook page) to learn more, drive to the store to look for the brand, find the brand in the store, take it off the shelf, put it in the basket, purchase it, use it again and again until it's gone, then remember the brand name during the next store visit.

Oh yeah! Also, we want the target to tell their friends and family about the brand and post their positive feedback on Twitter.

We aren't just competing with (in my case) 147 other brands for attention. We are also competing with all of the other things that people have to worry about -- work, family, exercise, diet, friendships, life at home, social outings, leisure excursions, errands, spiritual practice, national and worldwide events, etc., etc.

We are asking a lot of people, aren't we? It's no wonder that it's so difficult for a brand to be successful.

Emily H. Griebel is an integration architect at McKee Wallwork Cleveland, Albuquerque, N.M.
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