I’ll admit that discussion of branding is not my forte…after all, I’ve spent the bulk of my career building, enhancing and protecting corporate reputations – which are more than just the brand. But I have to admit, this article about branding being irrelevant caught my eye. The premise is this – you should stop talking about your brand and focus on your products…that brands are the byproduct of great products, and can’t be “built” per se. The ultimate argument here is Apple – who went from being a challenger to being the leader by bringing transformative products to the market, leaving everyone else that’s been investing in their brand to catch up. For example, Blackberry lost its edge because it focused on the brand, not the product.
The implications of this simple concept to the discussion of reputation are a bit more complex…because reputation is about more than just your brand or your products – it is about your citizenship, your value to investors, the careers you build and the company you keep. But the premise is sound…great products fuel great reputations. The reputation winners on lists of all kinds – from the Most Admired Companies to the JD Power and Associates Awards are dominated by the Companies whose products and services we can’t live without.
Is branding really irrelevant? Might reputation take its place? Or is it simply all about bringing great products to market? What do you think?