Branding.  Got it down?  Know what you’re talking about?  Maybe you’ve worked through a branding process with your organization.  Maybe you know you need to but haven’t gotten around to it.  Branding’s big.

But is it always going to stay big the way it is right now?

Read an interesting article by Umair Haque over at Harvard Business Online: The Shrinking Advantage of Brands.  Basic idea?  Back in the day, when print, radio and television were the only way to market your product, branding as we know it made sense.  You had to condense your message in order to get it across.  If you wanted "front of mind" you had to use things like logos and slogans that could be communicated in the mediums that were available and that’s not cheap.  Companies like Coke and P&G invest 10 to 15% of revenues into marketing. 

What’s happening now?  Those forms are still with us, but cheap interaction is changing the game.  The number one brand, according to Millward Brown’s Brandz report is Google.  And Google invests nothing in advertising.  What’s going on?  According to Haque "cheap interaction" (between customers) is causing the value of brands to decay.  "The cheaper interaction gets, the more connected consumers can talk to
each other – and the less time they have to spend listening to the
often empty promises of firms."

This is an interesting idea.  Has a lot to say about what all of us do.  Take a look at the article and let me know what you think.

The Decaying Value of Brands?
  • Thanks for the heads up on the Harvard Business Online (HBO!) article. Will be checking it out.
    At first blush I would say that “cheap interaction” is moving us off a definition of branding formed by the broadcast model.
    The broadcast model led to a focus on IMAGE branding. That’s why logos and slogans meant so much.
    With narrowcasting I’d say were moving to something like PERFORMANCE branding.
    Now to focus has to be on how a brand performs in the moment of truth when customer meets company…or more accurately, meets company representative. Businesses are just abstractions. It’s the people and the experience they create that communicates the brand.
    Fun times. Thanks for stirring the pot!
    Keep creating,
    Mike

  • Mike, I figured you’d have a good way of interpreting the concept! The difference between broadcast marketing and narrowcast. Very helpful. Thanks Mike!
    mark