• Weighed, measured and found wanting – branding?


    You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting. Isn’t that branding? In simple terms, that is exactly how we define Superbranding without the fancy theories of the written word developed in the 19th Century. Marketing has been the culprit that hides what is not delivered, yet promised by brands that have stayed the market. Branding is not marketing.

    Think for a moment about successful brands that continue to be popular (evidenced by sales) but do not deliver on the brand promise. We see a lot of this in the soap industry, where companies compete for big money poured into the marketplace. Advertising doesn’t always live up to “truth in advertising” or the phrase would never have been coined. Soaps that promise to turn white whiter, to clean cleaner, to sanitize better, to make fresh fresher (even if fresh is not part of the characteristics) fail in delivery. Promises abound. Regulation is nil. It’s a free for all and, in the end, consumers are duped.

    With the beverage industry, even brand titles are misleading, falling far short of what their titles promise. And yet, they are allowed to enjoy space in a marketplace driven by the consumption of duped consumers. How is this possible? It is open capitalism driven by funds to generate perceptions without protective regulation for truth. This free for all strategy does not regulate truth in the delivery of products and services.

    Hence, branding strategy is crucial in today’s marketplace. If truth were the issue there would be no use for branding. Sigh. Branding is all about the consistent delivery of the brand promise, generating the integrity that makes it the brand. So if your product or service and brand is truthful in how it entices consumers to buy, there is no problem. The problem arises when many products and services are called brands when they are merely bogus offerings that frustrate consumers.

    So why don’t we have regulation to ensure that brands deliver on promises? For Ayn Rand, the ultimate system is “a full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism—with a separation of state and economics,” i.e., a freewheeling market economy driven by competition and, of course, money. Capitalism is a social system based on the principle of individual rights. Politically, it is a system of laissez-faire neglect (freedom).

    Legally, it is a system of objective laws—rule of law as opposed to rule of man. Economically, when such freedom is applied to the sphere of production, a free-market results. Laissez-faire is an economic environment in which transactions between private parties are free from government restrictions, tariffs, and subsidies, with only enough regulations to protect property rights. The phrase laissez-faire is French and literally means “let [them]do,” but it broadly implies “let it be,” “let them do as they will,” or “leave it alone.”

    Having chosen democracy and freedom, we must accept its consequences. Or so it seems.


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