Why Would Someone Buy Your Brand?

Why Would Someone Buy Your Brand?

This post is the first in a series dealing with clothing Lovemarks.

The primary job of marketing is to get your brand in front of the right audience.

When the right people see value in your brand, they buy.

So why does someone decide to buy your brand’s clothing? There are four possible reasons:

1. Utility Value

This refers to the clothing’s usefulness and practicality. Think snow jackets, men’s underwear, sun hats.

Buying decisions based purely on utility value are totally rational, logical and feature-based. They’re devoid of emotion.

As a consequence, these buying decisions generally represent the most fragile connection there is between customer and brand. Where there’s no emotion – no love, there’s usually no brand loyalty.

To the customer who has a choice between clothing products of similar utility value, brand doesn’t come into the equation. The buying decision is settled by weighing up other features, such as price or looks.

Or quality.

Quality is a key feature that boosts utility value. A customer that identifies consistent quality in a brand is likely to develop some kind of connection with that brand.

Nevertheless, it would be a connection based on reason, just the same. Not emotion. And it’s hold would be vulnerable from the moment similar quality becomes available elsewhere.

The only opportunity for a brand to create a meaningful, lasting connection with customers through utility value alone is by offering features that aren’t available anywhere else. Innovation, first-mover advantage, and/or legal protections come into play here.

This approach monopolises the customer’s attention and sidesteps the competition.

What it can’t avoid however, is the inevitable.

Nothing lasts forever.

It’s essentially a loveless marriage of convenience on borrowed time.

2. Aesthetic Value

This refers to how the clothing looks on a customer. It’s valuable because it has a direct influence on how the customer feels.

Finally, a glimmer of emotion.

Think two-piece swimsuits, black leather jackets, Ed Hardy.

What charming, well-proportioned young woman doesn’t feel giddy at the prospect of sporting a stylish, flattering swimsuit on a summery day?

What closet tough guy/heart throb doesn’t get his ego stoked stepping out in his Brando best?

But once again, there’s a problem here.

Swimsuits are generic. Black leather jackets are generic.

The looks may be great, but they’re as common as a cold.

A customer can’t bond with a brand when all it has to offer is more of the same.

Brands that offer aesthetic value can only flourish when they offer unique aesthetic value. Aesthetic value the customer can find nowhere else.

This is where Ed Hardy and the like rise to the fore.

Clothing brands that offer their customers unique, identifiable designs can succeed in building a legion of enthusiastic fans.

But how loyal can a brand crush be when tastes change like the seasons?

After all, who doesn’t feel every now and then like a change is just what they need?

A change is as good as a holiday, as they say.

This is why brands that rely on aesthetic appeal alone only ever manage connections with their customer that, although somewhat emotional, can also be uncomfortably fragile.

3. Status

Clothing bought exclusively for status is intended to reflect who the customer is and what type of person he or she is.

Think Louis Vuitton, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike Air Yeezy 1 “Grammy” sneakers.

One goal of a buying decision motivated by status is to elevate the buyer’s social standing among friends. Another is to create a perception of prestige and distinction in the eyes of the onlooker and passer by.

Either way, like clothing bought for aesthetic value, status-focused clothing creates an emotional payoff for the customer. Usually a far more powerful one. This is why customers often don’t baulk at handing out exorbitant sums of money for clothing that elevates their status.

On the contrary.

As a general rule, price is a direct measure of perceived status.

The rarer, the more exclusive, the more expensive, the better.

An exclusive Louis Vuitton outfit makes two unequivocal statements to the world: that the wearer can afford Louis Vuitton, and that the wearer has impeccable style.

Likewise, as one of the rarest sneakers in the world, the Nike Air Yeezy 1 “Grammy” makes two explicit statements to the sneaker aficionado: that the wearer knows and lives for sneakers, and “admit it, you want to be me.”

Undeniable status.

The status-based clothing buying decision is a far more emotional one than a practical or rational one.

This is a good thing for the brand, because emotion is what creates real connections. And connections strengthen loyalty.

But what happens when that loyalty is put to the test?

What if a more exclusive or more expensive brand rears its head? No single brand has a monopoly on either of these assets.

Any degree of customer loyalty is a good thing, but a brand can do much better.

4. Belonging

Clothing brands that offer the customer belonging provide them with the opportunity to be part of something they believe in, identify with, and/or are passionate about.

A movement, a statement, a culture, a community, an identity.

In so doing, they provide them with a like-minded tribe to belong to.

A home.

The customer is endowed with a sense of uniqueness, individuality, differentiation from others.

A place in the “us and them”.

Think The Hundreds, Levi’s, Patagonia.

The Hundreds’ clothing represents a culture, an identity, and an aesthetic that’s uniquely their own. Other skating-based street fashion brands may be similar, but none are the same.

The Hundreds community is a family.

For disciples of The Hundreds, there are no alternatives. It’s The Hundreds, or it’s nothing.

No competition.

Levi’s jeans represent a piece of pioneering history. The oldest jeans brand in the world.

Pure authenticity.

Forged by time itself.

Could lovers of Levi’s jeans find a better product elsewhere? They would most likely never know, because they would never have any reason to look. In their eyes, everything else is an imitation.

That’s brand loyalty.

Patagonia makes clothing for the outdoors and is one of the world’s most responsible and sustainable brands. Its clothing allows its tribe to buy into a movement of social and environmental awareness and responsibility.

It allows them to be a part of something bigger. To make a statement about what they believe in.

Where their heart is.

These belonging-based customer-to-brand connections are essentially love stories.

Connections based almost solely on emotion.

This is the realm of brands that have achieved Lovemark status. Brands that create loyalty beyond reason.

It’s a station to which only a select few brands can aspire.

Clothing Lovemarks

It’s important to understand that for the customer who buys from a Lovemark clothing brand, the connection itself is the real product.

It’s not the t-shirt, the pants, or the hoodie that represents the value in each purchase. Instead, it’s the buying into the brand itself that matters.

The buying of a piece of the brand.

The product itself becomes a mere icon of the relationship. Much like a wedding ring.

Multifaceted Brands

The four reasons for customers’ buying decisions listed above are presented in order of increasing emotional connection they create between customer and brand.

Which almost always means increasing customer loyalty.

In the real world however, many brands can and do satisfy more than one of these buying reasons for their customers.

Ideally of course, brands should aspire to give their customers all four reasons to buy their products if possible. The more, the better.

Let’s take a look at some examples.


I mentioned Levi’s earlier as a brand that represents authenticity and a piece of history. While it’s products can be copied and imitated, its history and identity cannot.

But it in fact offers the customer more.

It’s jeans are also widely loved for their ultra-robust, lasting build (utility), their great fit (utility), and their recognisable classic style (aesthetic value).

It’s a Lovemark that has over the years built generations of loyal, passionate followers who accept no substitutes.


Patagonia offers its customers two primary reasons for buying its products, both highly compelling.

As I mentioned earlier, it most importantly gives them a means of belonging to an impassioned and ever-growing movement. This is, as stated in their ethos, a mission to save our home planet.

Environmental advocacy, a commitment to conservation and sustainability, inspiring and implementing of solutions to the environmental crisis: these are aspects of this Lovemark that allow it to form emotional, allegiant bonds with those who share its values and ethos.

To add fuel to this fire, its high-quality products provide great utility to the very people who are by nature most bought in to their crusade – lovers of outdoors. Patagonia’s innovative products are renowned for their exceptional performance, quality and durability.

It’s not difficult to understand therefore, how this Lovemark is able to garner such brand loyalty.

The Hundreds

At the very heart of a decision to buy clothing from The Hundreds is the street-wear culture. Over its now twenty years in this sector, the brand has forged its own unique identity that has been shaped by art, music, skating, and street-wear history and fashion.

The Hundred’s products afford its customers their very own place in this culture and community. It allows them to send a message to the world about who they are and where they belong.

Customers love and are loyal to this Lovemark because it offers a piece of something that’s valued by them and unique.

Adding more weight to the intensity of the emotional bond between customer and brand however are two additional buying reasons.

Firstly, The Hundreds’ artistic product designs carry prized, collectable aesthetic value.

And secondly, its strategy of limited releases creates scarcity and therefore a sense of exclusivity in many of its products, increasing their wearer’s status within the community itself.


Every brand is destined at some point in their inception or evolution to face some self-defining decisions to make about who and what they want to be.

How do they want their customer to perceive them?

How do they want to relate to their customer, and their customer to relate to them?

Are they happy to be a generic brand, or do they aspire to be something greater?

Do they have what it takes to become a Lovemark brand?

The answers to these questions will determine the reasons they ultimately give their customers to buy their products.

No Comments

Post A Comment