Wired: The aristocracy of brand is dead.

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The aristocracy of brand is dead.
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Great article.

"A study by retail-industry tracking firm NPD Group found that nearly half of those who described themselves as highly loyal to a brand were no longer loyal a year later."

"Marketers may consider the explosion of new brands to be evidence of branding's importance, but in fact the opposite is true. It would be a waste of money to launch a clever logo into a world of durable brands and loyal customers. But because consumers are more promiscuous and fickle than ever, established brands are vulnerable, and new ones have a real chance of succeeding - for at least a little while. The obsession with brands, paradoxically, demonstrates their weakness."

"In this environment, companies that slip up - even if it's simply failing to match customer tastes - can no longer count on their good names to carry them through. And consumers have become far more willing to experiment with products, because the amount of information out there makes taking a chance far less risky."

Comments

Branding

If you hear the word branding from a marketer...grab your pocketbook.

Branding = unjustifiable spending of large sums of money.

Long live direct marketing.

Gettin' hit by traffic...not cars.

Branding is good - but only a piece of it ;)

>>>>grab your pocketbook.

Branding is good, an important piece of the marketing puzzle, etc - but something that is 2nd to acquiring traffic. Users who engage with your product or service is the primary concern for most companies - or should be. "Branding" ;) is secondary to this.

The article above highlights something else about information - a few years ago, I wouldn't touch "no brand" dvd players, now of the 3 in my house - I've got 2 from who knows what electronics firm, and they work just fine. Only one of the three is "branded".

>who knows what electronics f

>who knows what electronics firm, and they work just fine

Yeah, same here. In fact, like the article touches upon, my purchases of electronic goods are almost entirely driven by reviews now. I first go to my peers (recently bought 2 Panasonic Toughbooks based on Lazerub's recommendation) and if they don't have much info I start prowling the review sites (watching for review spam, of course).

This decline of brand effectiveness and shelflife is not only partially brought about by the web, but it has some long-term implications for web advertising, SEM, and even the brand of the SEs and portals. Remember Altavista's HUGE brand, for instance? Poof!

Brand is Just a stick on label

Brands are just labels stuck on goods produced by others. That is to say, Black & Decker does not even make their own small appliances. They don't even design most of them. All they really do is put their label on them. Same thing with Jeremy's example of electronics.

Deep down the consumer knows this and just goes with the reviews or price.

Another thing at work is that the life cycle of many premium brands is at an end. Joy and Palmolive dish liquid both used to be premium brands, now you find them in the dollar store.

Branding for consumer goods is now secondary to getting it placed in the Big Box stores. Branding might still be important for the retailer itself tho. (LL Bean, Wal-Mart, etc)

Devil's advocate

Yes, I admit there is value to branding, but as mentioned, lots of times the brands are just stickers and good PR. Brands do elicit more emotion and trust, but often that trust is abused anyhow. I think when you work IN marketing, you realize that the more money a company SPENDS on marketing, a lot of that money DOESN'T go into product development and research. More emphasis is place on image vs. quality.

With the power of the web, you can often find good reviews and sift through the BS (I love amazon among others for this).

Perhaps it's "player hating", but it kinda ticks me off to see some of the large sums of money BLOWN on "branding campaigns" when the funds could be diverted to some much more TRACKABLE and MEASURABLE marketing methods. I may be just more in search of the short-term direct benefits...but I'd hate to be wrong about a large branding campaign in the long run. I don't think G initially spent A LOT on branding to become a top recognized brand. Whenever I hear about "branding value" it makes me question whether the marketing firm is really doing the best job they can be. Always seems to set off red flags with me I guess. I guess a more informed world means it's harder to fool people these days. (Read: Look out the dummies are catching on!)

Reviews

>>Welcome to the What Have You Done for Me Lately? economy.

I love that..

>reviews

I dont touch anything without first spending at least an hour checking it out on the web..

>image vs. quality

>you realize that the more money a company SPENDS on marketing, a lot of that money DOESN'T go into product development and research. More emphasis is place on image vs. quality.

In the US, one only has to look at the info-mercial channels on TV for a never-ending array of such products. I once read (but sadly cannot remember) the ungodly percentage of total product "cost" that is spent on building the brand and marketing home exercise equipment.

Brand is dead - Long live the Guerilla Marketers

As I say brand is dead - there has long been a symptom amongst internet buyers not to look at the second site in the SERPs

If you're number one and have got what they want they'll buy - price is almost irrelevant in this :)

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