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Common Brand Problems

Overcoming Common Brand Problems – 5

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Overcoming Common Brand Problems

We are analyzing The 40 Most Common Brand Problems and how to overcome them.

Common Brand Problem Number 5: Confusing brand management with product management

Analysis: These are not the same. Brands, if well managed, should have a much longer life than individual products and even product categories. Brand management is much more holistic than product management, encompassing all marketing elements and many of an organization’s other functions.

Key Point: Consumers do not develop relationships with products nor or are they loyal to products. Brands and what they stand for establish the emotional connection with consumers. As Jim Speros of Ernst & Young put it, “Products are manufactured in factories…brands are created in the mind of the consumer.”

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2 Comments

olivier blanchard on October 11th, 2006 said

Hey, great point: Product Management and Brand Management are entirely different animals, but I don’t really agree with you when you say that people (users) don’t develop relationships with products… or that products are manufactured in factories – which makes them sound lifeless and completely devoid of a soul. While they are manufactured, the manufacturing has less to do with the product than its design. Aside from quality concerns, manufacturing processes are completely irrelevant when it comes to creating and releasing great products.

The relationship that people have with specific products is – more often than not – the foundation upon which their relationship with a brand is based: Great experiences with a product will turn into an increase in enthusiasm for a brand. Every time a company releases a product that is loved by its users, it increases the strength, relevance and image of its brand.

You can no more assume that people don’t have relationships with products than you can separate brands from the products that make them succeed or fail. It would be like trivializing the role chocolate plays in a chocolate cake recipe.

Quizno’s would be nowhere if people didn’t love their sandwiches. Apple would be nowhere if people didn’t love their computers and mp3 players. BMW would be nowhere if drivers didn’t love their cars. Southwest Airlines would be nowhere if people didn’t love their unique flight experience.

The product, more often than not, is the very vessel through which a brand lives, breeds and multiplies.

Great blog, guys. 🙂

Brad VanAuken on October 11th, 2006 said

I agree almost entirely with you, Olivier. The product and/or service and the way in which it is sold or supported brings the brand to life and delivers on its promise. Both must work seamlessly together. My primary point is that one must not just focus on product management without an understanding of the brand and its essence, promise and personality, nor should one focus only on brand management functions — brand identity, marketing communication, etc. without recognizing the importance of the product. To a very large degree the Toyota Prius is driven by the product, as is the iPod, etc. While other brands are more driven by the brand concept. For instance, Harley-Davidson (freedom of the road and comradeship of kindred spirits versus a particular type or quality of motorcycle). I do believe, however, that it is the creation of a brand that allows products and services to be personified — that is, to take on human qualities.

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