The idea behind a brand is to communicate distinct, differentiated, and desirable values that lasts beyond product cycles. But in the end of the day, it’s really how products are made, how they perform when used, and how they are recycled that matters most, at least if you want fewer better things.
In my quest for simplicity and essentialism, I learned about the concept of VRM – Vendor Relationship Management – from the book The Cluetrain Manifesto. It’s basically CRM – Customer Relationship Management – for people. The idea comes from Doc Searls, one of the authors of the aforementioned book and researcher at Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University , and is a system to empower customers, leading to what he calls the Intention Economy.
Since there is not a public VRM system available – yet – I decided to create my own a few years ago to interact with brands. Instead of listening to the often empty promises, I listed a number of criteria for anything that I need. You know, of course, of the first one – frequent usage – but there are a few more: