Last December, I went to my local Canadian Tire to buy a new pair of skates. I hadn't bought a pair of skates in over 10 years, and was overwhelmed at the selection of models and brands stuffed into the store's shelves. There were skates with laces, skates that looked as if they were designed by NASA, and skates that resembled ski boots more than they did skating gear.
To me, there were two key things that mattered in making my purchase decision. First, the skates had to be easy to get into. Second, they had to be wide enough so my feet wouldn't freeze up while skating (in my childhood, I never had a great experience with traditional women's figure skates as they were narrow and too rigid).
After trying on what seemed to be an endless selection of skates, I finally decided on a blue pair of the CCM "Alpine Performance" brand. By now you're probably wondering why all this is relevent to branding. Here's my point. I could have bought cheaper skates from another brand, but I chose the most expensive pair because they fit all of my buying criteria. The coolest thing was that the skates had the latest and greatest in skating technology called the BOA system. Rather than using laces, the skates are tightened using narrow cables that are extremely strong and durable. If I want to tighten my skates, I just press one knob and turn the button clockwise. To loosen the skates, I pull out the knob and simply pull off my skates.
When I use the skates, I get the feeling that CCM considered my needs as a skater and integrated them into the design of the product. What mattered to me as a skater was taken care of in every aspect of skate design.
The story would end there but there was one more reason I decided to buy CCM skates. It wasn't the key reason, but in the background it somehow assured me that the buying decision would be a good one. As a child, I grew up with three brothers - all of whom had CCM bikes. When one of my brothers grew out of his bike, it would then be passed down to me. I trusted that the bike wouldn't let me down, and it never did. My past experience with the brand was such a positive one, that I remembered it years later in adulthood. It reached me at both a rational and emotional level, and the story it told was one of trust, quality and performance with a hint of nostalgia.
Do you have similar stories to share? Is there a brand that you used as a child, that you're still using today? Why?