Whoa… Brand, Brand, Brand?

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by: Sigurd Rinde

Reading Evelyn’s post I (my fault) get stuck on one word, one concept: "Hang on, brand? Why brand?"
Yes indeed, why the notion of brand?

Of course I accept that a Brand is an important asset. Just like an old building. Great to inherit, important to keep up.

But would you build an old building?

Brand is freeze-dried-trust. Brand is the belief that BMW build more precise engines than Ford, actually have finer margins when building a cylinder head. Is that so?

iPod was no brand, still people bought it in spades, it simply being a great product. Now it’s a Brand.
What to expect then? The Brand is now an asset to be used, in other words we will see more products jumping on the iPod brand-skateboard. Will all those be as good? Do not bet on it. One day a flop will appear under the brand-umbrella.

And me the consumer will inevitably be led into buying it, gullible as I am. I’ll get seven good products, then a useless one. Suspect we’re two down now with the miniMac just out. Should I not simply get out of the way, stop buying the moment I get a whiff of ‘brand building’? That would at least keep the future dud product out of my way. But I love the miniMac… it’s hard…

A flip back-in-time: A business have two basic tasks: Interact with customer and make the product.

Last part we’re good at, thanks to industrial technology. First part we’ve been bad at as we did not have information technology when we needed it. So a makeshift solution came to life – push, push, push. Marketing as we know it.

But something was lacking when we started pushing – trust was not a given. Not the kind of trust I built meeting my customers face-to-face in my little shop in pre-industrial times.

Brand was the answer. Trust-in-a-wrapper. Fragile. Static. Inevitably deceiving.

Now we have the technology. Trust can be dynamic.

Focus on trust – which BTW equals transparency. Be open, be true, make a damned good product, stay transparent, be bold. Then the inevitable dud product would die by itself and not kill the future.

Do not build the future on ‘Brands’ please.