On brands
and brilliance
how do they
work?
CHAPTER 4
T
his is a deliberately short chapter because the business of
branding probably deserves a book to itself. So rather than
fall between two stools I have taken the view that what you
need is a quick overview of what a brand is and how it works.
The power of the brand
The really big brands like Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes,
Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Andrex, Persil, Whiskas, Sony, Nike,
Apple, Google have certain things in common. Ubiquity. Very
high awareness. Strong qualities capable of inspiring confidence,
approbation and even affection. Great brands don’t let you down
and are part of your life and are more than just functional prod-
ucts. Look at what happened when Coca-Cola dared to change
their recipe. Proof that the brand belonged to the consumer not
the manufacturer.
Tony O’Reilly defined a brand when he was CEO at Heinz as a
product so desired that a customer would leave a supermarket if
it wasn’t in stock and go elsewhere for it.
But now it’s getting a bit eccentric. Branding is applied to every-
thing. And strange names seem to be a starting point. They’ve
always been around. Screaming Yellow Zonkers a yellow snack
food in a black box. Crazy Oats it was a breakfast cereal that
changed colour when you added hot milk and tasted of rasp-
berries. But now we have a Dutch advertising agency called
46 bri lliant marketing
Strawberry Frog and a series of new brands Sticky Ass Glue,
Squidoo, Woomp. And anything can be a brand.
No, surely that can’t be right.
I didn’t know I was a brand!
Everything that moves nowadays is a brand. I’m a brand.You’re
a brand. Planet Earth is a brand. My cat’s a brand. The bee is a
brand. Linda Barker is a brand and describes herself in the third
person. London Bridge is a . . . stop! My head hurts.
People who know nothing about marketing talk about brands,
with the consequence that a lot of us could get very confused. So
let’s have simple definition time.
Definition time
A brand is a marketing artefact and is a product or a service with
the following:
YES IT HAS THIS
A unique name
A logo
A designed identity
A reputation*
A provenance
Emotional meaning to the consumer*
Something bought and sold
Something created by man/woman
Consistency
Producer pride
Availability
Worth more than an unbranded product
* if the brand is a new one does it have the potential to achieve this?
What a brand is
Branding is the process of creating a
personality for a product or service
using a consistency of design and
self-description which gives the
object a distinctive feel, look and competitive position.
People go to all this bother so that they can get paid more money
for it than they otherwise would.
A brand is something the consumer feels emotionally involved
with. A brand is something that is remembered by name.
On brands and brilliance 47
branding is the process
of creating a personality
for a product
brilliant
tip
Study brands that you like so you can see how they created the
idea and then developed it. (For instance Coca-Cola used the image
of Santa Claus in a Coca-Cola red outfit in the 1930s, giving both
the legend and the drink a huge boost. In other words Coke stole
Christmas.)
Small brands can be sexy too
And smaller brands that have that crazy potential to grab the
public imagination.
Brands like Ben & Jerry’s, the launch of which gave such a shock
to the smart marketers at Diageo that they sold off Häagen-Dazs
before the erosion of sales that they expected set in. Sometimes
a strategic retreat is the best answer to a compelling attack.
Brands like Innocent. A great brand run by great people with a
great attitude their HQ in a slightly grimy part of west London
is called Fruit Towers.
Brands like Pimm’s. It’s the only drink that stands for something
as positive as ‘sunshine’. (Given which they have to explain why

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