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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