Are You in Good Company?

A brand for secretaries

Luxury brand Louis Vuitton has lost the lure it once had with the Chinese elite. According to Business Insider typical luxury shoppers in China now find Louis Vuitton too common, increasingly perceiving it as a brand for secretaries because middle-class secretaries can save up and acquire this symbol of status for themselves.

Not wanting to be associated with the mainstream, the wealthiest Chinese go for even more expensive products that allow them to stand out. Louis Vuitton’s formerly exclusive brand has been diluted by the countless women slinging the logo-embossed purses on their arms.

You will be judged by the company you keep.

While I personally have relatively little interest in luxury items to validate my social status, I can understand the desire to disassociate from others you don’t feel to be in the same class as you.

Let me explain.

Are you in good company?

good company

Starting to explore the music scene in my new city, I was looking to book a show for myself (when not working for Tronvig Group, I make music) and figured a local jazz club would be a good fit. But when I went to see one of these clubs in person, I left wanting to have nothing to do with the place.

The bands playing that night were, to put it nicely, amateur. I had no desire to see my name on the calendar alongside their names and thought it might be detrimental, if anything, to my brand as a musician. It would send out the wrong message to audiences who were not yet familiar with my music. I was sort of appalled that the club would book musicians playing at such a low level and even require that people pay to listen to this music. It’s no wonder that I was one of only two people in the audience that night.

Similarly, I was checking out a small management company that works with emerging musicians here. Their online collateral looked fine but when I actually listened to recordings of some of their artists, I lost any hint of interest I might have had. I deduced that it would hurt my brand more than it would help it to be affiliated with artists that were mostly mediocre or just plain bad.


There were a few artists on the roster that sounded professional but I couldn’t trust the management company given the numerous bad apples in the bunch. Similar to the way the many counterfeit Louis Vuittons circulating take away from the real Louis Vuitton brand, the professionals I perceived as counterfeit weakened the brand and reputation of all the other musicians represented by the same management.

We all tend to lump things together. This kind of oversimplification, guilt by association, is our normal mode of behavior.

Whether music or luxury goods or your brand, it’s crucial to stay in good company or it may negatively affect how you are seen. Perhaps unfortunately in many cases, we all tend to lump things together. I took a sample set of two bands from the yearly roster of hundreds of acts to entirely write off my local jazz club. This kind of oversimplification, guilt by association, is our normal mode of behavior. It’s just easiest to operate that way. We are essentially too lazy to bother so we take what we see and assume the rest is the same. This is related to our overconfidence effect, our tendency to assume we know things that we actually do not.

So as a brand it is good to be vigilant about all the products, partners, affiliates and friends that you have, because you will be judged by the company you keep.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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