Of all the situations the pandemic has brought us, there is no doubt that vaccines have been the source of the most conversations. The fact that vaccines come from different sources and laboratories allows us to learn a lot about our natural relationship with brands. Ultimately, vaccines are created by laboratory brands and the decision to vaccinate is related to protecting our lives and the lives of the people around us.
Perhaps the most interesting thing is seeing the characteristic that people talk about the quality of one vaccine or another, which is the best or worst brand, without having the slightest idea what they are or what they contain. No one will even be able to talk about the vaccine manufacturing process, let alone all of its ingredients, yet everyone has an opinion of each brand.
This is not limited to vaccines nor is it a new phenomenon. It is our daily reality as consumers. We all talk about the characteristics of this or that product without having an idea or detailed knowledge of the technical processes behind it. This is where we discover the importance of brands and the most important principles of branding: our decisions are driven by perception, not reality. Here’s what we saw in this case: We listen more carefully to the opinions of our neighbors than the epidemiologists and technicians who developed the tests and studies.
Which is that vaccination is like a purchase decision. What happens is that, in many cases, we are not the ones who choose the brand. But in judging them, we allow ourselves to be guided by the associations built in our minds. The truth is, we didn’t know more about Pfizer as a brand than the fact that they were the inventors of Viagra. And at Johnson & Johnson, we’ve only learned about their products that protect children’s skin. However, it is surprising how much people can elaborate (or invent) about the superiority of one or the other.
Another essential component of the brand that comes with the vaccines is the original. In fact, brands are born for this purpose: to determine where products are made. It is very ridiculous for those who talk about the quality of one or another type of vaccine because it was created in China or in Europe. As with cars: we pay much more for a car of a German brand, for example, despite the fact that the production plant is located in India several times.
As always, we have a feeling that brands are helping us gain prestige. It is that natural need to distinguish ourselves from the group. That’s why I was so amused by the comment of someone who recently said that the question “What vaccine did you get?” It’s the new “What school did you drop out?” As the experts have well said, the important thing is to ensure that as many people as possible are vaccinated in order to beat the pandemic. It’s the population and not the exact sign that was applied to each one. But this is the nature of human beings, as patients or as supermarket shoppers: we are guided by perceptions, constructing mental associations in the face of a class of which we know little or nothing. Many continue to ignore what we should already be clear about: in the face of a situation like this, the most important thing is to be guided by the opinions of experts and technicians.
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