The Brand

Maureen Dowd wrote something today that made me think of a good business lesson.  I know – no politics!  But this quote got me thinking:

“If McCain loses, he will have contributed to his own downfall by failing to live up to his personal standard of honor.  He had forfeited his brand and gone back on his word.”

By the way, the online version of the column cut out the second part of that quote but it’s in the print version.  Not sure what that’s about.

Read that in light of a piece by Cory Treffiletti this morning in which he concludes “Brand-building is dead, but marketing is not.”  His premise is:

Brand development is a transitional metric. Building a brand is not and never was the end goal of marketing. Building a brand is a transition metric to driving sales or increasing market share — and that is the goal of all marketing.

I think they’re both right but I think Cory understates the importance of the brand in teeing up conversion:  a purchase in the case of a product; a vote in the case of a politician.  More importantly, creating any cognitive dissonance between the brand’s perception and the brand’s reality can be devastatingly bad and stop the conversion process dead in its tracks.

When things get desperate, whether in business or politics, brands do things that are out of character.  Things that are divorced from the deeply-held reality that others have about them.  And that is usually a good sign that the end is near.

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One response to “The Brand

  1. Tom Fischmann

    I agree Cory’s blanket answer doesn’t cover all the aspects of brand. Think, for a moment, not about what brand does (i.e. drive sales) but about what brand actually is – it’s the cumulative ways we can describe something based on what we know about it. And what we know about it is a direct result of the brand’s actions. Thus, the reason transparency in branding is so key, and to Maureen Dowd’s point, why we pay dearly for straying from our brand promises.

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