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CHAPTER SIX: Brand Attachment: The Baref... > PRIDE AND BRAND DISPLAY - Pg. 135

B R A N D AT TA C H M E N T 135 comfort comes from the newness of the device itself. In fact, these fickle early adopters are also known as "first droppers," because they are usu- ally the first segment to move on to a new technology. But there's another, growing segment that wants the newest device from their preferred brand. This segment even defends and rationalizes poorly designed devices from their brand of choice. To them, it's the brand in their pocket, not the object itself. PRIDE AND BR AND D I S P L AY There is perhaps no stronger sign of brand attachment than the willingness of consumers to show off a brand. When a brand connects strongly with our self-concept, we often want to use it as a way to signal who we are to the rest of the world. Historically, the degree to which we're willing to wear brands comes in waves. During the 1980s, brand display was critical to conspicuous consumption. People enjoyed draping themselves with brand identities, cre- ating odd tapestries reminiscent of NASCAR uniforms. By the millennium, the distaste for wearing a brand became so intense that for a while we saw the rise of a backlash movement in which people rejected anything that was branded. But the wearable brand never went away completely. It simply became more discreet. Whether used to show others you have status and style--as you might when carrying a signature Louis Vuitton handbag--or to display your commitment to quality--as you might with a Montblanc pen--we're often attached to brands because they help us project our iden- tity to the rest of the world. Sometimes this leads to problems for the brand's maker. A colleague recently told me that fashion brand Bebe was considering whether to discontinue production of its logo line of T-shirts. These shirts, available online and in most stores for about $20 to $30, feature the word Bebe in the center of the chest. It was rumored that some of Bebe's manage- ment team were troubled to see housekeepers and nannies in local neighbor- American Management Association · www.amanet.org