Anti-brand activists have been challenging the way that we perceive brands in our lives for many years. A fight against capitalism, globalisation, the exploitation of workers in poorer nations and the power that corporate brands have over consumers, economies and governments. It would seem however that brands are no worse off now than they were in the late 90’s when the anti-brand movement really started to build up steam. The anti-brand argument comes at three angles:
- The way that brand’s have come to dominate our mental environment.
- The erosion of public space and the political sphere.
- The contradiction in brand values with the exploitation of poorer nation workers.
Brands have remained strong because corporations have taken the anti-brand argument views on board and are learning from them, thus improving the way that they manage their brands. Without brands we would live in dull, non-individualistic and valueless societies where we were all forced to live look and feel like everybody else. Not to mention that global corporations provide millions of jobs to the world’s poorest people. The pro-brand argument comes at three angles:
- Corporate brands raise standards of living in developing countries.
- The differentiation of products and services is essential in consumer lives.
- Advertising is a necessary evil.
Pumpkin Patch is a multi-national brand that takes its social responsibilities very seriously, following core brand values of integrity and family values. When looking at future marketing and brand management, a company such as Pumpkin Patch may be perceived as a contradiction of its brand values by manufacturing its products in China where there is a history of underpaid workers and poor working conditions. However, I challenge you to find a major clothing brand in the world today that does not outsource a portion of its manufacturing to more economical developing countries.
In view of both sides of the ‘No Brand Argument’ it is my recommendation that Pumpkin Patch continue with their current brand and growth strategies, and also continue to outsource their manufacturing to China, but take close care to ensure that all supply partners are maintaining high standards in product quality as well as in factory working conditions.