Seinfeld on Marketing: Expectations

I am really excited about today’s Seinfeld on Marketing because it is one of my favorite interactions on Seinfeld. So that you can experience the subtleties of this interaction and the hilarity that ensues, I am going to only offer the video segment (RSS readers, please click here).

In this episode, Elaine tags along with Jerry who is picking up his reserved rental car at the rental agency:

When you think about it, a reservation is nothing more than an expectation. And quite simply, this is also the definition of a brand. A brand is a perceived expectation in an exchange of value. In other words, if I give you something that I value (my time or my money), than I expect something of value in return from you. The stronger the brand is, the greater the expectation that I have. But this expectation of mine goes much deeper than just your products or services. It is an expectation of anything and everything relating to your business.

For example, my expectation of Apple is “uncluttered and stylish innovation”. Yes, I expect sleek, intuitive new products that are designed with my present and future needs in mind. But I also expect innovative solutions from its employees, understated packaging, simple setup, an uncluttered Apple Store and maybe most importantly I expect some of this unclutteredness and style to “rub off” onto me to help me unclutter my life and bring a sense of style to who I am.

You see, a brand is not just what I expect from your company; it is also what I expect of myself by choosing your company. If I have an iPod, I expect to be (and probably see myself as) a stylish person. If I buy a safe Volvo car, I expect to be a safe person. If I buy high-class jewelry from Tiffany & Co., I expect to be a high-class person. In other words, I expect to be what I expect of the brand.

That is why, in essence, a commodity will never be a brand. There is no expectation of a commodity – other than maybe convenience or price. But these are hardly the building blocks of a strong brand. The thing is, with a commodity just as soon as something else comes along that is more convenient or better priced, your commodity will be replaced. And it’s sad, really, when this switch happens because it is not even a conscious decision. Conversely, if I were to switch from Coke to Pepsi (because of repeated unmet expectations), than I would mentally make a note not to purchase a Coke ever again. However, if my local grocery store switches the kind of celery it sells, I may not even notice (unless I happen to buy a particular brand).

Happy Friday everyone!

This post is part of a weekly series, Seinfeld on Marketing.

2 Responses

  1. Interesting post, besides i like seinfeld

    Thanks for sharing

  2. alojeda81,

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing in your love of Seinfeld. Who knew that you could learn so much about marketing by simply watching Seinfeld? I thought it was a show about nothing?

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