Nike, a great name in ± cameras?
How best to handle brand extensions
Don't confuse the customer
Brands have come a long way since cattle owners (and, shamefully, even slave owners) burned
a mark on the skins of their stock to say ``this is mine, keep off!''. These days the mark, logo,
sign, or slogan ±or any combination ±which identi®es a product is more likely designed to give
the message ``this is for you, buy it!''.
And whereas once brands for products or services were meant merely as some sort of useful
bookmark in the memory of potential customers, they have assumed a far greater importance
and in¯uence. Even to the extent that some marketers have been heard to say ``brand is
everything'' (Sad, if that's true, for isn't it just another way of saying ``never mind about the
quality or durability of what we're selling, so long as our image is enough to make you buy,
that's ok with us''?).
Brand may not be everything but it is unarguably important, and maybe vitally so, in many
aspects of the way we live our lives today. For instance, Interbrand, a leading global brand
consultancy, goes so far as to say brands ``are central to free markets and democratic
societies. They represent free choice''.
Interbrand says: ``They also have a profound impact on our quality of life and the way we see
our world. They color our lives. They re¯ect the values of our societies. Megabrands, such as
McDonald's and BMW, can even embody the spirit of many nations, if not the spirit of an age.
Most importantly, strong brands bestow value far beyond the performance of the products
themselves. Brands that do this possess an idea worthy of consumer loyalty. The more inspiring
the idea, the more intense and profound the commitment. And the more the consumer believes
in the brand, the more value the brand returns to its owner''.
More democratic than the voting booth
California-based writer Randall Frost, author of The Globalization of Free Trade, goes so far as
to say that ``many branding professionals believe that the marketplace is in fact more
democratic than the voting booth, in so far as the market expresses popular opinion through the
interplay of supply and demand and market pools''.
And, in similar vein, many branding experts point out that, if customers decide they don't like a
particular brand, the company has to ®nd a rapid response to satisfy those customers'
concerns, whereas governments can wait until the next election campaign.
Where once brands for products or services were meant
merely as some sort of useful bookmark in the memory
of potential customers, they have assumed a far greater
importance and in¯uence.
VOL. 20 NO. 8 2004, pp. 20-22, ã Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 0258-0543 DOI 10.1108/02580540410545647