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It's a proven fact that our emotions heavily influence our purchasing decisions. Planning Director Liam Danby takes a look at just how important it is for brands to associate the right kind of memorable experience for their consumers in order to engage these emotions.

Faced with an impending trip abroad into the cold mountains of Slovakia, I decided to head into town to buy some snow-proof pants. The first store I visited sold out and it seemed everywhere had- my options for a new pair were few and far between.

I decided to look for an answer in the posh charity shops of the King’s Rd- somewhere my aunt had taken me as a child emphasising the quality of the donations.

It worked, after finding my entire kit in the first shop I was hooked. I’ve always loved a good bargain, but perhaps more importantly the unpredictability of charity shops means you really never know what you’re going to find.

In the final shop of the day I spotted a jumper I quite liked. When I got to the till the lady inspected the little silver star on the label, matching it with a list on her desk she whispered “that’s Eric Clapton’s jumper- nice isn’t it? He brought it in last week, just lives down the road.”

As I walked out with Eric’s jumper I felt like I was carrying something special- rather than just a second hand jumper. It got me thinking about the hidden histories of things- and their potential value.

That day I’d bought a few other things, and out of curiosity set about looking for clues about their previous owners.

I discovered that the binoculars I’d bought belonged to an illustrious member of the Queen’s Royal Guard- who, according to a national newspaper, had his house ‘broken into’ by an heir to the Blenheim estate not realising his friend had moved.

My ski jacket, the name neatly written in the lining, belonged to the founder of a Durham College Ski Club- who had gone on to a successful career in high finance, perhaps treated himself to a new one with his first pay cheque.

The stories behind the items were in fact much more interesting than the items themselves.

Aside from wondering whether charity shops missed a trick by not encouraging donors to tell the tale of their garments- I was fascinated by the potential of history to cling to a product.

The digital and social revolution brings with it a never before seen potential to keep these stories together, even without intention.

With many brands drawing on their history and provenance it is clear there is some understanding that these stories can translate into value and interest. What’s often missed is the personal tales that are most compelling. If a brand’s marketing can be part of creating unique stories for their products then we’re going to feel personally attached to the stuff we buy from the outset.

In many ways this is how experiential marketing works, by getting consumers to participate and engage- creating memories that are connected with a brand, product or service in the long term.

Get it right and you probably won’t find your stuff in the local charity shop- or maybe you will, but with a note of it's adventures attached.

Liam Danby
Planning Director


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