December 11, 2007

The "Brand Problem" Problem

There was a time in America when every problem was a "communications" problem.

If you couldn't get along with your husband, you weren't communicating. If your kid was incorrigible, you probably weren't on the same wavelength. If your boss didn't like you, you just didn't communicate well with him. There were no problems of substance, just problems of communication.

Well, the truth is, sometimes your husband is just a pain in the ass, and your kid is a nasty little brat, and your boss thinks you're a worthless shit. And all the communication in the world won't help.

Today we have the business version of this. Instead of communication, the problem in marketing today is always "the brand." So if your products are crappy, or your stores are dirty, or your service is lousy, or your business strategy is stupid, you -- my friend -- have a brand problem! Call in the branding consultants. Pay them a few hundred thou and let them study your brand for a few months.

They'll give you a big fat report filled with charts and graphs and the latest up-to-the-minute buzzwords and cliches. And if anyone asks what you're doing about the problems you can make a nice little PowerPoint presentation.

Tinkering with the brand is so much more pleasant than solving the problems.


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