Of all the definitions of “Brand” I have read and used, the one that in my opinion is both simple and deep is: A brand is the consumer’s idea of a product (D. Ogilvy as quoted by Edwards and Day, 2005, pag. 40).
From that very much adequate approximation, the concept of Branding has evolved into something that has more to do with an odd mix of metaphysics, pop culture and a surrogate religion.
We have been told Das Brand is an entity of its own, a hypostasis to which humans should develop a sort of deep emotional/quasi-religious attachment, even a friendship.
More Plotinus than Plato: send three and four pence, we are going to a dance…, rather than send reinforcements we are going to advance.
So no surprise when at the top of its popularity that concept fails epically. And that happens right in the social media sphere, its experimentum crucis.
From sublime to ridiculous.
Thank God we got Mr. Bob Hoffman rising and showing us the way: “Marketers are from Mars, Customers are from New Jersey”.
What is next for any Martians who have fallen on New Jersey?
Simple, watch TV, if you do not have enough time for 3D Real Reality.
Suggestions from this writer:
- “Super Shoppers”, C4: Last July in a shopping Centre: The Coca Cola blind test applied to Tea, about 30 years later: Perception does shape reality: our recent consumeristic history makes us think that a branded tea is better than Lidl’s Tea. But, but…
- “Eat well for Less”, BBC1: yesterday 6th of September 2015, a Newport family realises they can save about 4 of the grand if they kiss good-bye a few Brands in their weekly shopping AND change some habits.
On a very first basic level, growing parts of the population simply are revising the Value/Performance equation of “Brands”.
To me, it is really about the internal ability to deliver.
Eventually, each and every one of those things and all them together build up, bottom up, inside out that thing we call Brand.
I call that Substance and Delivery Branding.
And I have an ipse dixit for that, instead of adding my drivel to what has been said by a real authority:
(Maurice) Saatchi’s Law (as quoted by Edwards and Day, 2005, pag. 209): S = P-E, Satisfaction equals Performance minus Expectation.
Simple, very human, very New Jersey but it very underrated to me these days, which is a BIG, BIG issue.
The old world is coming to an end and a new one has not emerged yet, but it will not be long…
Of course the power of omnipresent communications (even more so courtesy of Digital), combined with omnipresent distribution is still strong, so the metaphysical part of Branding still appears to matter. But the malaise is there…
…And people do experience, repeatedly, over time: dirty shops, rude staff, Contact Centres designed and operated by Franz Kafka, cowboy salesmen, patronising communication, products not living up to promises…All that comes from silos, extreme office politics, NIH* syndrome, poor internal communications and des-engaged staff, weak, rigid and frigid company cultures.
Those experiences, in time, will definitely change the consumer’s “idea” of any Brand. And that will hurt the bottom line…
Flashback 19th century Sicily: Don Fabrizio Corbera, The Leopard, Principe di Salina, Duca di Querceta, Marchese di Donnafugata …and a part time thinker, was debating the “Monarchy Brand” with a bureaucrat of the King.
The Kingdom is falling apart, Garibaldi, a Republican, a Socialist is blazing his trail from Sicily up to the Capital, Naples.
The Bureaucrat goes: “things are a bit iffy, but we should all stick to the Ideal of Monarchy nonetheless”.
The Prince says: “Of course. Only thing is…because of prolonged poor show, even the Ideal is a tad dented eventually”.
*NIH: Not Invented Here.