Steal THIS Brand

Call it brand equity, call it X-factor, call it oomph, call it...(pax Kevin Roberts), 'love'. I call it brand relevance...

October 15, 2004

Call it brand equity, call it X-factor, call it oomph, call it…(pax Kevin Roberts), ‘love’.

I call it brand relevance…and some brands really seem to be losing it.

McDonalds was losing it, but may now be pulling itself back from the brink, revitalising its simple; cheap; convenient food proposition for the 21st century. They have changed brand reality before changing brand perception. Good work guys!

However, still dangling on the knife-edge of irrelevance:


Yesterday WHSmith announced they lost £135m last year. I’m not surprised.

What exactly is the point of WHSmith?

All that high street real estate and nothing to put in it that you can’t buy better and cheaper elsewhere.

If the brand proposition is convenience (and maybe it isn’t!), then surely they should make the service convenient: open more outlets; try smaller outlets; employ more staff; make home deliveries; try novel packaging formats…something. Anything.

But the biggest sin of all, in my book: selling a 200g bar of chocolate half price wth every magazine at rail station outlets.

#1 it exposes the breadth of their retail margins…and make me suspicious of all their pricing

#2 having their cashiers personally suggest to every customer that they inject 200g of sugar personalises the affront, and demeans their staff, who are patently uncomfortable with the tactic.

Other brands are less clear-cout…

Woolworths? – a brand on the critical list for a decade…but can it be rebuilt as ‘the place for cheap treats’…?

Cadbury’s? – perhaps a controversial choice, but there is reason to worry that Cadbury’s is being eviscerated by advertising and CSR blunders.

The latest attempt to revitalise comes in the form of an the campaign: “Your happiness loves Cadbury’s”. Give me a break! – and no, not a kitkat from your arch rivals.

Cadbury’s has long walked the tighrope of productising its corporate brand. Often successfully. Where they led, Nestle has followed. However, Cadbury’s is increasingly using the corporate brand to anchor an flotilla of overextended product brands. Unless the product brands establish their own attitude, this approach may drag the whole fleet into a sea of irrelevance…

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