May 13, 2014

Is Brand Power Waning? (Part One)

Is Brand Power Waning? (Part One)

Guest Blogger: Ashley Wiederhold

An article in The New Yorker has raised some interesting questions: Despite all of the money, time, and energy that businesses invest in their brands, is brand power a thing of the past? Is the influence of a positive, strong brand waning?

The argument put forth by the author of the article is that brands have become less important as consumers have become better informed. The article reads: “It’s a truism of business-book thinking that a company’s brand is its ‘most important asset,’ more valuable than technology or patents or manufacturing prowess. But brands have never been more fragile. The reason is simple: consumers are supremely well informed and far more likely to investigate the real value of products than to rely on logos.”

The article goes on to assert that today’s consumers have access to “reams of research about whatever they want to buy.” Ultimately, the author argues, the Internet has provided an avenue through which consumers can read reviews, reports, research, and other data about companies and their products—and that these pieces of information, more than any brand image, shape consumer behavior.

It is certainly true that today’s consumers have the ability to read up on just about any product, service, or company that they choose. But to say that this is weakening brand power is to overlook the fact that today’s companies can use the Internet to strengthen a brand’s image, rather than allow the World Wide Web to detract from it.

When used correctly from a marketing standpoint, the Internet is an invaluable platform upon which businesses can build their brand’s image. Through websites, blogs, online articles, social networking sites, etc., today’s companies can spread information about their offerings, their values, and their mission on a larger scale than ever before.

But let’s take a second to look at the argument that the article asserts. Brand power can wane with an increase in consumers’ access to information if that brand is built upon nothing but a logo and a tagline. The key to strengthening a brand in today’s information-centric world is to understand that a successful brand should encompass more than a visual identity. It should borrow from and build upon:

— The company’s reputation
— The characteristics that make the company unique
— The emotional impact that the company has on its target audience
— How customers experience the products and services that the company has to offer

When approached this way, it’s easy to see how Internet-based content—online reviews, social media activity, etc.—can actually help strengthen a brand image. But this is only possible if the company in question upholds the values, mission, and other attributes with which its brand is associated. Otherwise, the loyalty of consumers will wane—just as brand power will deteriorate—as people start to understand that the image a company puts forth is not an accurate representation of the business. Now, more than ever, it’s imperative for companies to build brands that they can stand behind.

# # #

“Twilight of the Brands,” The New Yorker


Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *