Fake Shoes: Brand Perception is Reality


Recently a pop-up store in a Los Angeles mall had an opening party. Over 80 social media influencers flocked to the champagne and caviar reception at Palessi, a new luxury shoe retailer with an Italian flair, glass and lacquer displays, black clad associates and slinky house music.

Swept up by the experience, the attendees plunked down thousands of dollars for shoes they described breathlessly in social media posts as “elegant and sophisticated”. Facing a video camera, holding up a pair of sneakers, a woman said “I would pay $400 to $500 for these”. And then she did.

In any other mall, the sneakers she was holding cost $19.99. 

Palessi was a fake. The products were from Payless Shoes.

Contrary to popular belief the product isn’t primarily responsible for the value perception of a brand. It’s what is around the product that controls whether you think something should be expensive or cheap. 

Visual branding, sound, technology, physical environment, digital user experience, and human interaction are all levers that affect how products are perceived. And most importantly, what people are willing to pay for them.

Are your customers perceiving your brand the way you want them to? What other levers can you pull?