Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Let's Kill All The Branding Experts.

You will have noticed that I tend not to use the B word in this blog. I laboriously write "products/services" for a good reason and was delighted to hear Russell Davies on a panel at the PSFK conference declare that "most things aren't brands."

Hugh MacLeod who was also at PSFK picked up on the bankruptcy of the concept in an excellent post entitled The Cult Of The Brand RIP. I agree with both of them, but have an uneasy feeling that marketing as a whole will bear the brunt of the much overdue backlash.

Product line extensions are fine by me, but their promiscuous expansion in the 80s and 90s and beyond (as George E Parker reminded us, 80% of product launches fail) was less to do with marketing hubris and much more to do with the villain of the piece that I identified some time ago.

Branding, on the other hand, emerged into broader business parlance as a result of the eighties’ obsession with putting intangible assets like brand equity onto the balance sheet for the purposes of financial engineering

The branding myth has always been that it had something to do with real marketing. It didn't and that's why it's belatedly imploding.

UPDATE: A case in point. It's not a brand, it's a logo!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too find distasteful the cult of the brand - surely some are good,some bad and most products and services do not even qualify as brands. The aim of a brand is to create a monopoly of the mind - it therefore behoves all good citizens to oppose them, since monopolies are invariably a bad thing.

7:03 AM, June 05, 2007  
Blogger john dodds said...

Monopoly of the mind is an interesting idea Mark - especially as The Long Tail would suggest that there are also a large number of monopsonies out there (one buyer, a number of suppliers). And of course there are certain areas in which natural monopolies are the best solution.

That said, monopolies are all about barriers to entry and I agree that it's both morally and economically better if the barriers are based on product excellence rather than hyped image.

9:04 AM, June 08, 2007  
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