Magazine article Marketing

The Brave New World of Brands

Magazine article Marketing

The Brave New World of Brands

Article excerpt

The marketing community is as susceptible as any to the herd instinct and to the temptation to extrapolate current experience forever. Those who remember the late 70s will recall that we were then in the midst of |price wars' and predictions of the death of brands ... and then the 80s happened.

Here we are again, with many talking as if the world we have been in for the past three years is |forever'. Products must be about function and marketing about price. Is that Toyota's long run route to the top or the way for Marlboro to regain long term supremacy?

The chart is based on our research last year, at the low point of consumer confidence. It illustrates the fundamentally good shape that category leading brands were still in. One year on, with incomes, spending and confidence rising is it time to rehabilitate the 80s?

There are many manufacturers who neglected functionality in the 80s as their agencies emphasised the importance of the image attributes of brands. They forgot that to add value you have to have something to add it to! They are right to redress the balance.

The premium being sought by some manufacturer brands over own-label and tertiary brands is often greater than the brand's image and aspirational qualities warrant. The images that have currency have obviously changed dramatically. In the 80s they were inspired by the merchant banker. In the 90s they are straight from the street. In that sense recession and the massive social problems stemming from increasing inequality do mean that the world will never be quite the same again. …

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