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Brands - Reducing the Paradox?

Barry Schwartz presented a very compelling meme at the Google campus, the Paradox of Choice. In a nutshell, choice is good, lots of choice is bad.

His presentation has been bouncing around in my head for a few days now. I strongly recommend that you have a look. The premise that additional choice adds an overhead is something that feels intrinsically right, and Schwartz backs it up with evidence. A good sign.

I was thinking about strategies that I use in day to day life to make decisions simpler in a sea of choices, and the common theme I found - Brands.

My experience with a particular brand reduces the amount of thinking I make about a product. Some have negative connotation, some positive. Apple tempts with with new products as I trust the brand, but I am hesitant to buy a Dell due to what they represent.

Brands make supermarkets simpler, clothes shopping possible and music fun.

In reality, brands are just one level of filter that we rely on in modern life. There is a wide range of other filters. With the advent of the internet exploding the level of information and thus increasing the need for filters, it is an area seeing rapid change in recent years.

Aside: filters is a much bigger topic, but tends to delve in to Web 2.0 examples such as,, etc - so I thought I’d avoid it for now and talk about branding.

Although, a good example of filters is how I found the video in the first place. I’m using Google’s own staff as a filter for talks I’m interested in. They kindly share their in-house seminar series. Thank you!