Brands and platforms cannot win-win.

Editor’s note: This article is from the micro-channel public number “spread gymnastics” (ID: chuanboticao) , Author: Zheng Zoran.

The writing is a bit divergent, and there is a bit of gossip in the front, and I will talk about some ideas about the platform and the brand.

Due to technological limitations, after the performance of a product reaches a critical point, the marginal cost will increase. That is, the higher the product, the more exponentially the cost will increase.

This is actually easy to understand. The cost of producing an 80-inch screen is not twice the cost of producing a 40-inch screen, but may be many, many times. Of course, this also reflects the pricing. This economic law can be used in all industries. Be verified.

What we call high-end and low-end, in fact, in the end is the restriction of technology application, domesticated perception. (We think that the 80-inch screen is a luxury, not because it is really a luxury, but because technology limits it to be difficult to achieve mass production in an economical way)

The critical point mentioned above is actually the highest balance point for the overall social efficiency when producing the product. But the problem is that the purchasing power of different groups of people is different. No matter what society they are in, the “Law of 28” will eventually exist, that is, a small number of people control most of the resources. This allows the upper class not only to pay much higher costs to purchase high-end goods, but they can also pay a large premium to maintain the scarcity of the target group of goods, so that high-end products have a market.

We said in the article that brand consumption is essentially a social behavior, and brand premiums are also maintained by social pressure. After the emergence of high-end products, ordinary users have yearned for them. This is also a universal public demand-want to have better products and live a better life.

The secret of high-end brands is to only meet the needs of a small group of people and keep enough people looking up and yearning, otherwise high-end brands will no longer be high-end. Who would buy a bottle of mineral water with 10 yuan, Evian users would, and who would use tens of thousands of yuan to buy a package, LV users would.

Price is of course the key to screening users.

Traditional brands can effectively control prices through dealer management and price system management. High-end brands are scarce and usually do not rely on hypermarket traffic. Agents violate the price system, such as selling at low prices, and brands can easily cut off their supply.

However, in today’s new era, the price system of brands is being challenged. To a certain extent, brands are homogenized and high-end brands appear more fragile than ever.

Price systemThe challenge lies in the emergence of e-commerce platforms. In fact, the interests of e-commerce platforms are not completely consistent with the interests of the brand itself.

Platforms tend to meet the needs of the general public in order to acquire more users, and more users can spend on multiple brands on the platform. Therefore, the platform has always been motivated to divert traffic by lowering the price of high-end products, which is in fact overdrawing the brand.

For the platform, you can use 5 yuan to sell 10 yuan of mineral water, which is equivalent to using 5 yuan to attract new traffic. As long as the traffic drawn can be in other places on the platform, the platform can earn the 5 yuan back. , Business is naturally cost-effective.

But brands are naturally unwilling to see this situation. If everyone can buy Evian on the platform for 5 yuan, then the public’s psychological pricing of Evian will be pulled to 5 yuan, no matter it is It is not good for maintaining brand tonality or for screening target groups.

This kind of brand-platform conflict has occurred in various e-commerce platforms such as Taobao and JD. The latest story is Pinduoduo.

A few days ago, Pinduoduo launched Tesla’s group purchase at a low price. Tesla firmly stated that it has not cooperated with Pinduoduo. Pinduoduo said that the car is a genuine Tesla and the subsidy is also real and effective. In fact, the tension between such brands and Pinduoduo has appeared many times on brands such as Apple and big-name beauty.

The difference between Pinduoduo and Taobao Jingdong is that its current focus does not seem to be on the operation of brand merchants. The merchants introduced are more agents and distributors, which can also circumvent the “choose one” strategy of other platforms. But this also makes the contradiction between the platform and the brand more prominent.

We once said that brands are shaped by consumers, not by brand companies themselves. But the head platform essentially concentrates the needs of mass consumers, and the platform policy is essentially an indirect expression of consumer needs. Therefore, we believe that the head platform will have a profound impact on brand building in the future.

The paradox is that the mass platform reflects the mass demand of the “greatest common divisor”. The platform policy will make all brands popular and homogenized. When a brand enters the platform, it needs to lose its unique personality and join the competition of cost performance. in.

Therefore, we have never seen brand advertisements on e-commerce platforms, because platforms do not need them, nor do the mass users behind them. From this perspective, we can understand why many luxury brands have never been on Taobao Opening a flagship store on Tmall, the tension and conflict of interest between the brand and the platform, it is not necessarily a win-win game, can you expect LV to call you “pro” on Want Want?

Another example is the mass social media platform.

The context of Weibo represents the community culture under the “greatest common divisor” of mass users, which is obviously incompatible with the personality of niche brands.

During the prosperity of Weibo, the most questioned thing in the industry is that all kinds of hot posters and brand Weibo stories areThere is no soul, because they reflect not the unique characteristics of the brand, but the language and culture of the Weibo community. If you don’t look at the account name, you may find that the Weibo information of various brands can be mixed, and users can hardly find anomalies. To put it simply, Weibo has shaped all brand official microblogs into jokes, and shaped XX with a “net feel”.

This confusion still appears at station B today. The atmosphere of station B affects the way the brand is expressed, but not all brands are suitable for this way, but if it does not cater to the culture of station B, the brand will obviously not be able to get traffic (let’s go and see How miserable is Dior’s B station official account). As a result, brands have begun to lose their unique characteristics for traffic and KPI.

In short, the platform needs to meet the needs of most users in order to formulate rules, and the brand needs to maintain its own differentiated characteristics and refuse to be mediocre, which will lead to the platform and the brand will sooner or later part ways.

In fact, unless it is a brand built by the platform or a national-level mass brand, we have never found a brand that can hold hands with the platform until the end. It is usually the case that the iron platform, the flowing brand, and the brand usually only serve the platform’s phased goals.

To sum up, there are contradictions that are difficult to reconcile between platforms and brands. This contradiction is divided into two aspects:

First, the platform has an incentive to interfere with brand pricing power, and price is the most important factor for the brand to maintain its tonality;

Second, the platform has the power to assimilate the brand cultural tonality, and the brand tonality is the basis for establishing public brand awareness.

Brands need to be looked up to, and they need to grow on platforms, but the accumulated contradictions will explode sooner or later. The cooperation between brands and platforms is more of a different dream.