‘Today, branding is everything – and I mean everything. Brands are not simply products or services. Brands are the sum total of all the images that people have in their heads about a particular company and a particular mark.’14

Scott Bedbury, CEO of Brandstream, a Seattle-based marketing consultancy, formerly worldwide advertising director, Nike and chief marketing officer, Starbucks

This chapter looks at some lingering myths that limit the horizons of brand thinking and creativity. It summarises a number of the most serious blocks to the effective use of brand power and the new realities that are shaping today's opportunities. The evolution of brand power over time has been a story of changing business and market conditions, as well as growing sophistication in the way brands have been developed and deployed. The problem has been that while some companies have been in the vanguard of responding to the threats and opportunities thrown up by new circumstances, many more companies are handicapped by outdated and obsolete brand management practices. They are prisoners of the past.

From our wide experience of working with many different companies in different sectors, these are all-too-common symptoms of underperforming brands.

Myth One: Brands are just about differentiation in the marketplace

If you think this, then you will never lift yourself from the fourth division of brand performance. ...

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