Here at The Ad Contrarian Worldwide Headquarters, we have always taken a skeptical view of brand babble.
While we appreciate the value that certain types of brand equity confer, we are appalled by the misunderstandings and misrepresentations of how brands are built, and the dreadful lexicon of "branding."
Our views on the topic are summed up in a few little axioms we trot out whenever the subject surfaces:
"We don’t get them to try our product by convincing them to love our brand. We get them to love our brand by convincing them to try our product."Now, when you're a dumb-ass blogger, it's nice to have pithy little statements like that. But it's a lot nicer when you find that your views are shared by someone with actual, functioning brains.
"A strong brand is a byproduct. It comes from doing other things right. Make sure your product is excellent. Make sure you're taking good care of your customers. Make sure your ads differentiate you. That's what builds brands."
That's why an article I came across recently was particularly gratifying.
The article, at Business Insider, was called "The Two Most 'Dreaded, Hated' Words At Steve Jobs' Apple."
And what were these two words? According to Allison Johnson, VP of Worldwide Marketing at Apple from 2005 to 2011...
"...the two most 'dreaded, hated' words at Apple under Steve Jobs were "branding" and "marketing."The article goes on to quote Johnson...
"...we understood deeply what was important about the product, what the team’s motivations were in the product, what they hoped that product would achieve, what role they wanted it to have in people’s lives
...The most important thing was people's relationship to the product. So any time we said 'brand' it was a dirty word."Back in 2009 I wrote a post that included the following
Apple’s advertising is always about product benefits and differentiation. It is never idiotic “branding”... No lifestyle bullshit... And always done beautifully.Just goes to show, sometimes even bloggers can be right.