Is branding relevant in the era of information technology? Are we doomed by the economies of scale and the global market? And, at the end of the day, if we don’t have a Wii, or an Ipod, are we destined to being left out?

Yes, the market place is fully commoditized.

Yes, we have a fraction of the budget and the media outlets have multiply themselves exponentially.

 Yes, we are all competing against each other, and the economies of scale (as in China and Wal-Mart) have cornered us.

There are never enough marketing dollars to cover all the outlets, not even if you are a segmentation genius. There is no way any R&D department can keep up with the volatility of our consumers and the reaction from our competitors.

Everything can be made better and cheaper before the end of the season.

Does that mean that we have no option but to compromise our prices and our margins?

Only brands can elevate the ASP (Average Sale Price) and only brands offer the upper hand in any negotiation with the distribution channel. And only with branding, brands are developed.

Branding has not changed. What has changed, and it has changed dramatically, is the way branding is made. Today, waiting a couple of decades to build a brand and own a market or to invest monumental budgets is not enough.

Today’s branding in not made with blank checks, today’s branding is made with outstanding strategic genius and out of the box creative, and I don’t mean the creativity that wins at Cannes. I mean the creativity Campbell’s Soup used to take over the shelf by delivering a display that helped retailers keep the category organized while reducing overhead, and making it easy for consumers to find the chosen flavor (value for everybody). Today’s branding is made with the most rigid technique and the most flexible thinking.

I don’t want to hear the consumer is not willing to pay. Of course he is willing! But it’s got to be worth it (in his mind) Ask Nike, Apple and Nintendo and even Starbucks. Can you imagine the fate of Starbucks if they had stopped to think or asked in a market research if the consumer was willing to pay over $3 for a cup of coffee?


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June 6th, 2009 5 Comments Branding / Branding Blogging / Branding Education / Branding Marketing / Corporate Branding / Destinations Branding / Pop Culture / Price Strategy

  1. anne b. freedman

    Great thoughts. It is, at first brush, overwhelming. What you are saying is anything is still possible … but it’s going to take even more hard work, willingness to be innovative, and a full embracing of technology. Truly, nothing has changed except the scope of the marketplace and the range of opportunity. It remains mind-boggling. Thanks for your article.

    June 8th, 2009 //
  2. ftpmumbojumbo

    Thanks for reading Anne. It’s a bit overwhelming but at the same time it make this career even more interesting and challenging. It’s all about using your experience and creative to find new solutions in an ever changing world.

    June 8th, 2009 //
  3. ftpmumbojumbo

    To my point that everything can be better and cheaper before the end of the season. Watch out Nintendo… here comes Microsoft:


    June 8th, 2009 //
  4. REX

    Is a very interesting thought. Is why in this business the good idea is the ‘king’; Because it needs always the good ones for face the constant change in the market and consumer habits.

    June 10th, 2009 //
  5. Gregory T. Walker

    Hi Ester,

    Thank you for sharing your article with me. Great points and I agree with much of what you say. Strong brands are key to maintaining a strong pricing position. However, there are two additional aspects to maintaining a strong brand. The first is maintaining product or service performance. Strong brands stay that way because they continue to deliver on their promise of performance and quality. This is fundamental to their ability to be perceived as good values, even if they are more expensive than their competitors. The second is that strong brands have strong value propositions, and they make every effort to keep them relevant, distinctive and compelling. Your example of Campbell’s Soup is a good one. Others I would point to are Levi’s jeans, Kellogg’s cereals and Honda/Toyota/Lexus cars. Strong brands retain their price premiums because their prices are viewed as fair value for their products, which is a combination of consistent product quality/performance and value propositions that are clear, meaningful and distinctive.

    June 12th, 2009 //

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