How Does Brand Name Affect You?

by Guest Contributor · 13 comments

Do you always need brand name stuff or can you settle with generics? It’s a battle that rages throughout the strip malls, supermarkets and boutiques. And chances are, you’re already fighting for one side or the other.

Brand names are armed with “reputation,” aesthetic appearance and sought after trends. Generic brands are at bargain prices, and mimic the look of the brands without ruining your budget. The true quality of each is often debated, and many of these possessions serve the exact same purpose, regardless if it’s the real thing or concealed in a generic cloak.

What Possessions Are Worthy of the Brand Names?


If any material item is in the front line of this debate, it’s the clothes we wear on a regular basis. People care about how they look, and if you’re wearing a sought after piece of clothing, others will notice. The average pair of jeans at a department store like Nordstorm’s for both men and women retail for at least $150. In contrast, the average pair of jeans at Old Navy are under $20.

The $130 difference buys you a brand name, and a recognizable design on the back pocket of the jeans. You could also argue comfort and longevity, but a $150 pair of jeans will never out last 7 pairs of $20 jeans.

So, it just comes down to personal preference. Some even buy knock-off Louis Vuitton purses, and pleather jackets. People may not be willing to pay the price, but many feel that it’s important enough to fake like they do.

What about a larger purchase like a television? At Best Buy, a 46-inch Samsung 1080p LED TV may cost $2,099.99, but a “Dynex” 46 inch 1080p HDTV runs for $597.99. The brand name costs you an extra $1502, enough to “Dynexize” your house.

Best Buy’s site also reviews the two HDTV’s. Samsung’s score is 94 percent, while the Dynex scores a 90 percent on the same scale. It makes you wonder what kind of difference four percent makes, and suggests that it makes more financial sense to choose the Dynex. That is, if you can live without the Samsung on your wall.

The Power of Brand Name Reputation

Ask yourself this: You’re entertaining a small dinner party, and you can either purchase a couple $12 bottles of wine or pick up a $3 Charles Shaw. Do you care if you serve something known as a “Two-Buck-Chuck?” Will your guest care?

So Do We Need the Cool Brands?

With the economy where it’s at, “necessity” is brought into consideration more. It’s one thing to look like a trend setter, but at what point does the extra cost get bought out by practicality?

It’s important to be an intelligent consumer, check reviews as much as possible, and make sure to keep out of debt. If you feel what we own defines your place in society, think again.

This guest post is written by Go Banking Rates, bringing you informative personal finance content and helpful tools, as well as the best interest rates on financial services nationwide.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Cd Phi June 21, 2010 at 8:58 am

I totally agree with your overall point– we don’t need brand-name everything. However, in terms of fashion, sometimes I will buy a cute fake leather jacket because I really wouldn’t even want to wear/buy/support real leather or even fur for that matter. For the most part though, I would have to admit that I am a fan of designer jeans but not because they’re designer but because they just fit better. I’ve tried to buy old navy jeans and they just don’t work. Their fit is really weird and their sizing and style just doesn’t fit quite right. However, when I say designer I don’t mean Seven jeans or any of that, it might just be $50 jeans at Express or another retail store. But I’d much rather buy one pair of $50 jeans than 3 pairs of $20 jeans that I won’t be happy with.

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Steve June 21, 2010 at 10:07 am

Please don’t buy anything that’s fake. Not only are those fake products illegal to make, they are always easily spotted. People think no one knows, but it’s actually very embarrassing.

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Robert September 2, 2010 at 1:18 pm

If buying fake things make me the real person then I’ll deal with embarrassments. Since when did “keeping up with the Jones’s” become life’s standard anyway. I have no problem dealing with others opinion as it is their own. We only have one life to live and I would much rather spend on a $20 jean that will last me at least a year or more. Sure there are some who might be able to spot but if you look at it this way. Let’s go to a very busy and well known place like the streets in New York. Do you really think that more than 20% of the people walking those streets are looking at majority of passerbys and criticizing the clothes they wear. Seems most people are more worried about their day and what needs to be done, hence the reason such things like the stove being turned off before leaving the apartment later causing a fire, happens. Too much going on in one’s mind to worry about whether or not someone else is wearing leather or pleather. I would much rather have spent my hard earned money on some cheap/fake, as some look at it as, HDTV and know that I saved $1000 or more. Which in turn will last just as long as the expensive one, if not longer, and to turn around and use what I saved more towards the simpler and happier things in life which include family and friends. In my life I have found that majority of Jones’s could care less about anyone else and therefore are “fake” and it comes down to what you prefer, so which is it that you prefer is the question?

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heaps! June 21, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Buying fake clothes products is very embarrassing indeed. Unless of course you don’t mind the social pressures then avoid it at all costs. I agree with Cd Phi when it comes to jeans, the jeans at Express, H&M, etc definitely fit better and they’re not that much more expensive.

But in regards to electronics and prescription drugs, I would say to buy the cheaper product as long as if it at par or almost to par with the brand name. The example where you were comparing the Samsung and Dynex HDTV’s it would be much more feasible to go with the cheaper yet just as good Dynex product.

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Cd Phi June 22, 2010 at 9:02 am

Totally agree with you here. Clothes don’t always have to be super high-end lines, but just affordable jeans at Gap or Express, etc… Prescription drugs I but generic just because I don’t feel they have to be the real brand. The only difference between prescription drugs and generic is that prescription drugs cost more because their marketing and advertising costs more than say a generic drug which requires no marketing at all.

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MoneyNing June 21, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Speaking of fake clothes, I remember my friend once wore a Calvin Klien shirt. I’m not into that brand much, and of course I wouldn’t know unless the brand is actually Calvin Klein.

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danielle June 21, 2010 at 4:12 pm

when i hear the word generic, the first thing that comes to my mind is drugs. ok so maybe it’s bc I worked at kaiser pharmacy, but still…things like generic vs. brand name Sudafed is not a big deal. go with generic unless the specific drug you need can determine life or death.
when it comes to name brand non-essentials, it all comes down to style + affordability for me. i wear Gap jeans and buy them on sale, which is about $35 / pair. not huge, but not $20 jeans. I can live with that since i currently own 4 pairs. are they “name brand” though? kind of, but not really. they’re a big brand at an affordable price, plus it’s a quality product IMO.
when it comes to big ticket one-off purchases like TVs, furniture, laptops, etc. DEFINITELY consider the longevity of the item. it may cost you less to buy the Dynex today, but will customer service save your butt if the TV breaks down 2 years from now? here’s where i strongly agree with researching big ticket items. (don’t get me wrong, i think a $2k TV would be an excessive purchase for me)
as for minor purchases, like wine, that depends on the occasion. i would be embarrassed to show up to a dinner party with a bottle of Charles Shaw, but keeping a few on hand at home is perfectly fine. personally, i don’t need to stock up on Cristal or Dom P. Also, it’s good to stock up during BevMo’s 5-cent sale, as you could score 2 $20 bottles for $20.05.
i think name brand purchasing is a problem if the buyer is caught up in it. they’re not buying one prized Louis Vuitton bag, they’ve bought 5 because “they like them.” from a woman’s POV, i need one prize possession here or there, but not so many that i’m breaking the bank. common sense and research are a great starting point.

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alex jordan June 21, 2010 at 6:16 pm

When it comes to brand names and brand loyalty. Personally, I will stick with the brand that performs best for myself. Some products the generic or off brand name product works better than the popular one.

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Curtis June 24, 2010 at 8:58 am

Regardless of the “ratings” given, the “house brand” electronics do not compare with reputable brands – I believe it is more a matter of being aware of which features you will actually need. A $2099 Samsung TV could easily only be $999 if you went with the model series that acurately describes your needs and what features you actually will use. In terms of a general comparison, an uneducated person (in regards to colour, hues, etc) will do just fine but people with audio/visual knowledge would laugh in your face for suggesting Dynex over Samsung.

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Brooks November 25, 2011 at 12:24 am

HA! My TV sounds better but costs a ton more money! My ears love the ring to a perfectly sounded TV. However my wife is going to kill me for spending my son’s college money so my ears could feel all nice and warm from the vibrant sound quality of my overly priced TV. I say if you can afford brand name go for it, but if you cant, then go cheap!

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Neil June 24, 2010 at 1:01 pm

I object to brands when they charge you top dollar and actually give you something of generic quality. My wife recently bought a top-brand bag (I won’t name names) and it fell apart after 9 months.

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CreditShout June 25, 2010 at 2:31 pm

I really don’t like people that insist on buying brand names and then rip on the store brands that contain the SAME ingredients. It is a huge peeve of mine. Luckily I end up having more money than these “friends” to save for other expenses I need.

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heaps! June 27, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Thank you. I mean if someone wants to buy brand names let them, but why must they always brag and put down the generic brands for supposedly being of “lower quality.” I’m not one to have the latest and greatest electronics. All that matters for me is that it works, I never really cared for the HDTV’s, the high definition stereos and the like.

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