The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Nothing Says Who You Are Like What You Do …

A lot of luxury brands, invite a lot of mocking.

It might be what they make.
It might be the prices they charge.
It might be the way they look at the world.
But whatever your opinion, at least they commit.

Walk into a proper high-end luxury brand and you see high-end standards and experience.


[The Netflix series ‘7 Day’s’ perfectly demonstrates this, as I wrote about here]

Innovation. Craft. Details. Service. Packaging. Training.

You might not like it.
You might not value it.
But you can’t say they’re not committed to it.

Now compare that to companies that like to position themselves as ‘premium’.

Sure, some live up to it … but my god, most don’t.

The only premium-ness is often only in their pricing and ego.

Big talking to the public, short-changing everywhere else around them.

Now I get you have to look after the pennies in business, but when you claim to be premium – it should mean you recognize the value of premium standards and service in those around you and with you. And if you don’t – or you don’t think the people you are dealing with offer that – then why the fuck are you dealing with them?

I’ve written about this before, but once-upon-a-time I was asked to work on a freelance project for a high-end German brand.

I submitted my estimate to which I was met with the following reply:

“Your fee is higher than other partners we use, please lower it”.

That was it. Not even an indication of the costs they were comparing me too.

Now while I value what I do, the costs weren’t excessive.

Infact they were a fraction of the cost of one of their lowest priced products.

But more than that, I’d agreed my fees with the CMO before I submitted them to procurement, so I thought., ‘fuck this’ and wrote the following response.

“Your products are higher priced than other brands I could choose, please lower it”.

I know … it was cheeky, but I just thought they were incredibly arrogant in their attitude, especially in the way they wanted to undermine my experience.

And guess what, almost immediately they replied with,

“We accept your rate and look forward to working with you” … which is the exact moment I saw through the hype.

Brands who value quality don’t benchmark costs against the lowest market rates.

I get it’s a negotiation tactic, but it also reveals their hypocrisy and insecurity.

It’s why my experience with Metallica was so shocking … despite the fact what they do and value all makes total sense but the way most business operates means it felt so bizarre.

Actually, Metallica are a great example of a brand that values who they are.

Everything they do is focused on respecting the quality of what they do.

For example, to make sure their vinyl is always of the highest quality – they bought the best vinyl printing press company in the world.

Same with their live shows …

To ensure their sound is of the highest quality, they had the highest-quality live speaker system in the world built.

Rather than approach investments in terms of ‘what can we get away with’, their attitude is to put highest quality first … which is why they buy stuff rather than lease it because not only does it ensure their creativity is given the highest possible quality [rather than the best they can get away with] it ensures they always have priority access to it. And when they don’t need to use it, they get people like me to work out how to make it pay for itself, which often ends up leasing it to other bands who don’t have the same needs/standards or values as them.

Metallica understand standards better than most brands.

But then they understand who they are better than most brands.

Which is why everything they do is focus up to the quality not down to the price.

That’s a proper premium brand … one who makes decisions that reflects who they are not who they are pretending to be.

Christ, I recently saw a rep from a coffee brand get into their gold Audi.

It stood out to me because it was a errrrrm, gold Audi.

And while some may look at it and say,

“If they drove a Prius, maybe their coffee prices were lower”

… not only are they unlikely to be people who buy their coffee, they are also unlikely to care about the difference of coffee.

That’s not a diss … I like Nescafe with Coffee Mate … but it also doesn’t mean that my taste is reflective of everyone else’s either.

Whether true or not, my impression of a brand giving their rep this choice of car was they had a different perspective on standards. Rather than give their reps the lowest priced car they could get away with, they found the most efficient car of the standards they live and operate in.

Of course many may slate or disagree with me for this view …

I also appreciate some may find their choice a reflection of their pretentiousness, which they find fucking annoying.

And in some way I agree with them.

However I feel a lot better about pretentious assholes when that’s who they actually are rather than those who do it to look like they’re premium when everything else highlights they’re anything but.

Commitment costs.

You might not want to pay it … you might not understand the reasoning for it … but at least you’re dealing with people who believe it rather than those who are exploiting you for it.

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