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Brands are Boring?

April 8, 2010 7:34:59.632

Spotted in Doc Searls Weblog

Meanwhile, lots of social media types are talking about brands and branding as if these were new and hip things. They're not. They're heavy and old. We need to move on, folks. Think of something human instead.

I'm not sure what else Doc has in mind. A brand is nothing more than a way to remember a product or service; it's shorthand. People like shorthand; it's easier to say "I like Bud" than it is to say "I like that beer you can get at the market on 23rd".

You need more than just branding, and I think that's where Doc is going - but you aren't going to see it disappear.

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posted by James Robertson


Re: Brands are Boring?

[W^L+] April 10, 2010 13:17:21.539

A brand, from the consumer standpoint, is a bundle of sensations and experiences that are associated with the product or service by a specific name. The bundle itself changes over time as the individual consumer changes, the market changes, or (most often) the company changes its offering (using cheaper ingredients, for example).

The pervasiveness of "let's build it overseas with underpaid labor" leads to other corner-cutting, so that many brands have been undermined without the company even knowing.

If you think back to the late 1970s oil crisis, not only did the gas lines cause people to buy small, foreign-made vehicles, it caused them to realize by comparison that the domestic brands had been undermining quality as part of a "harvesting" strategy. Here we are, thirty years later, watching the continuing effects of it. (Next step is probably the collapse of Chrysler.)

In the case of autos, the Japan-based companies became the new brand names to seek out. But in many industries, it will resolve to each of us choosing some random person on Ebay as our source for that product.

In other words, if the company behind a brand doesn't think about the long-term effects on the brand that their choices will have, the brand won't be there in the long term, and there may not be a strong brand that replaces it.

On your company site, shouldn't there be a link on the home page? "Looking for our Smalltalk-related user blogs? Click here." If one doesn't already have them bookmarked, they are hard to find.

Re: Brands are Boring?

[james Robertson] April 10, 2010 19:59:32.213

There is a link to the blogs at the bottom, but yes - I think it ought to be more prominent. Not my call though...

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