Thursday, January 08, 2009

Stagnant Brands

Why do brands get the doldrums?

Marketing has a unique challenge in that we are responsible for changing the status quo - grow the market, find new audiences, align new products and services with unmet needs. In a recent McKinsey survey on corporate decision making - these areas ranked highest on the list of strategic decisions made.

This creative mandate means that all aspects of a product must be fresh, topical, and on point. It often takes a new set of eyes to think through why a brand might be stagnant.

From the customer's perspective, there are three reasons why a brand isn't meeting expectations.

1. There is no promise; people don't know what the brand stands for
2. The brand doesn't deliver on a promise made
3. A promise is irrelevant today and doesn't work any more

Agencies exist to be fired. Can't remember where I first heard it, but it seems to be true. Presuming there aren't serious personnel issues, then why is this true? What is it about marketing that prevents a long-term,monogamous relationship from forming?

I think too often it is getting caught up in a transactional mode of thinking - a time-limited campaign, a new launch, and quarterly numbers. My new year's resolution is to help marketers focus on why a brand is/is not successful: What need is being satisfied? Who has that need? How do we best communicate with them?

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