Picked up The Origin of Brands: How Product Evolution Creates Endless Possibilities for New Brands by Al and Laura Ries.  Interesting the questions the book provokes and the applications that emerge.  The central idea is that there is almost no evidence of convergence working in the marketplace.  Almost everything that works is about divergence.  Example?  Microsoft Money (bundled) vs. Intuit’s Quicken, Quick Books, and Turbo Tax (all sold separately, all dominate their category).

An example of divergent thinking?  The energy drink Red Bull.  Inspired by a popular health tonic in Thailand, the drink is not an example of brand extension.  It is an example of the creation of a whole new category.  What’s the convergent example?  CocaCola’s KMX.  Ever heard of it?  Does that have application for your organization?  It definitely does for the orgs I’m working on.  I’m wondering if there’s something here about the way an organization might individually brand product offerings like a unique church service.  I think it does.   

Marketing Profs will be launching a book club discussion on it on Tuesday, March 20th.  You can find out more right here.  You can get a preview of the main ideas of the book right here in an earlier post they did.

P.S. I first tripped across Al Ries years ago when I read Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

The Origin of Brands