Regarding the article (link below) from Harvard Business Review, I felt the need to write this blog. Nothing new or breath taking in any way, but nevertheless an important reminder for anyone who wants to understand the concept of brands and branding.
The brand only exists in the minds of the consumer, and its brand position is very selldom (never) anywhere close to its "pay-off" or "tag-line" or "brand promise"! These are all the company's inside-out ideas, and have rarely any realistic chance to actually describe the real brand position (what people spontaniously will connect with and express about the brand).
To understand the difference between ambitions and reality is the first challenge. To respect the time and effort it takes to achieve a real brand position is the second. The third one is to acknowledge that the market place (consumers, customers, staff, competitors, media and society at large) is in constant movement and evolution. Even market leaders and so called category killers, have to face the fact that millions of new consumers are born every year, who's starting point with your brand is zero! Millions of loyal customers and brand ambassadors die and disappear from the market every year! New trends and topics change the overall agendas in society reguarly, shifting focus and the level of relevance for your products all the time. The market for ashtrays haven't been that sexy lately, but on the other hand vinyl records seem to be talked about again.
You can/must challenge these kind of surveys and the way and where they are carried out of course? But worth noting is that Coca Cola, Apple, Google, IKEA, McDonald's, Starbuck's etc. didn't make it to the top.
Magnus Brehmer, CMO of Digimoto