Just imagine if marketing became like politics of today, as being played out in Maharashtra currently.

You go to the supermarket to buy shampoo for dry hair. You have done your research. The brand you zeroed in is without ammonia and other chemicals, it is supposed to make your hair roots healthy and arrest hair fall. You decide to buy it since you are convinced with what you read in online platforms and hence you bought into their sales spiel.

You come home and you read the fine print, you realise this brand is from the makers of the cosmetic brand you have abhorred for using too many chemicals and is the very reason for your lifeless hair and the motive for you to go to the supermarket in the first place.

Are you going to feel cheated? As businesses consolidate and grow larger, such kind of amalgamations is common. A brand you think is very Indian and hence should by and large have Indian leaning products suddenly has noodles… you cannot really identify this very sanksritised brand selling an arguably Chinese origin product

So essentially now what your brain is processing is as follows:

Whichever brand you choose finally maybe they are coming from the same stable. So what is the big deal anyway and why are you paying a premium for the same?

This is also true with automobiles — there is supposed to be no difference in the platform used for a luxury car costing over Rs 60 lakhs and their slightly mid-end range costing about Rs 15 lakhs. The brand names and even the company is albeit different. But a simple google search will throw up the knowledge you desire and let’s face it we are all seasoned researchers now, Same is the case with an SUV and a mini truck.

Now coming back to the case of political parties: As a voter, you decided to punish x by not casting your vote for the incumbent and decide on y as you feel he has done better work or is more sincere and has more potential to serve. But suddenly you realise that x has joined y and they are cobbling together a government. Do you feel cheated? I definitely do.

Do I feel the same about a brand? Yes. I do. The minute I realise that the brand values which I am actually buying a product for is some kind of a cover-up and is made in the same ecosystem of the brand I eschewed I would not be comfortable to continue buying the said brand, Yes I know different products will have different brand names and even the company can be different . But still I would have a niggling doubt as a consumer once I know and today it is not difficult to know as knowledge itself is available easily. All you have to do is ‘search’

If this trend continues what will happen to brands? As it is, today there is a wholesale democratisation of brands to such a large degree that may be the gap itself between luxury/premium/ economy will narrow.

Budget consumers also do not accept inferior quality products. So the future if you ask me is very grey. Leaving out the genuine luxury segment which will probably become more pricey the rest are all under serious threat as it is difficult today to keep/ have differentiators for long. The lead time between the me-too product hitting the marketplace has reduced considerably as we all know, As far as the said political parties go the future maybe a 2-party system where the choices are narrowed but the chances of feeling cheated are removed.