It’s hard to tell the difference between cows. So it was in the Old West, and so it is even still today; it’s a brand that makes a cow different. And now with 40,000 products in a supermarket, more than 200 brands of conference room chairs, 225 models of mobile phone handsets, and more than 100 brands of computers, it’s hard to tell what makes each brand different.
Branding is one of the most important marketing developments of the last century. It’s not just ranch cattle; virtually everything is branded—from personalities to puddings, from sneakers to sports teams, and from cars to corporations.
But the spotlight on branding has been dimming as companies concentrate on short-term sales. When the economy falters, too many businesses put aside their long-term strategic planning process in favor of short-term goals—perhaps one of the reasons why weak companies often abandon brand marketing efforts in hard times.
Brand building is not just advertising; you can’t build a brand through advertising alone. Many of the dot-coms proved that. Pets.com spent more than $30 million in advertising, including $2 million on a Super Bowl spot, and now they’re gone.
With today’s acceleration syndrome—where customers are constantly intensifying the need for speed—you can’t build loyal brand advocates with push advertising alone. Brand loyalty comes from the customer experience, and CMR can enhance that experience. To understand that declaration, you have to step back and think a bit about what really constitutes a brand.