Why a good brand is important

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Brand Failures, The Truth About the 100 Biggest Branding Mistakes of all Time
ByMatt Haig
Published by Kogan Page Limited, 2011
ISBN 978 0 7494 6299 4

SMALL-TO-MEDIUM enterprises have become a major component of the country’s economy.
The Indigenisation, Economic and Empowerment programme has resulted in creation of businesses by black people in various arenas many which were once a preserve of white people.
But today indigenes are offering products and services that are competing on the continent and international platforms.
Using various platforms including the social media, these innovative businesspersons are pushing their brands.
However, failure of a product or brand on the market is always disappointing and has in some instances seen people opt out of business.
Highlighted in the book under review this week Brand Failures, The Truth About the 100 Biggest Branding Mistakes of all Time by Matt Haig is the importance of branding in business.
“A brand – any brand – is always more likely to fail than succeed. And, just for the record, this is usually the fault of the brand, not the product itself. If nothing was branded, every product within a category would stand stand an equal chance of success: hamburgers would just be hamburgers, running shoes would just be running shoes, dark cola-flavoured carbonated water would just be dark cola-carbonated water. So the difference between success and failure rests not with the product, but with the brand,” says Haig whose other titles include Brand Failures, Brand Success, Brand Royalty, E-PR: The Essential Guide to Public Relations on the Internet; Mobile Marketing: the Message Revolution; and The E-marketing Handbook.
Perception is described as everything in business and is rooted in branding.
“Brands have also transformed the process of marketing into one of perception-building,” writes Haig.
“That is to say, image is now everything.
“Consumers make buying decisions based around the perception of the brand rather than the reality of the product.
“While this means brands can become more valuable than their physical assets, it also means they can lose this value overnight.
After all, perception is a fragile thing.”
The book looks at famous branding mistakes and errors, from the classic ‘New Coke’ by Coca-Cola, to the failure of ‘Betamax’ as well as Kodak’s efforts to remain relevant in a world where consumers have turned away from film to digital cameras.
The author describes brands that have launched with the help of multi-million-dollar advertising campaigns, only to fail and disappear from the market.
And these mistakes in branding have been made by successful blue-chip companies to small-to-medium businesses.
And why is branding important?
According to the author: “Branding is no longer simply a way of averting failure.
It is everything.
Companies live or die on the strength of their brand – branding ‘pre-sells’ the product or service to the user. Branding is simply a more efficient way to sell things.”
The book is relevant to every executive and public relations, as well as marketing personnel interested is taking their products to the next level.
Products, according to Haig, are no-longer responsible for the fate of the company.
“When a company noticed that its sales were flagging, it would come to one conclusion: Its product was starting to fail,” notes Haig.
“Now things have changed.
“Companies don’t blame the product; they blame the brand.
“It isn’t the physical item sitting on the shop shelf at fault, but rather what that item represents, what it conjures up in the buyer’s mind.”
In branding, what is most important is the company’s name and visual appearance.
“Your name matters,” writes Haig.
“At the most basic level, your brand is your name.
“It doesn’t matter how important the brand name is to the company, it’s what it means to the public that counts.
“Looks count.
“Visual appearance is a key factor in creating a brand identity for most products.
“It was the distinctive shape of the Coca-Cola bottles which helped the brand become so big.”
This book is a great read for anyone involved with branding, logos and identity.
Indeed, it provides reminders for things that are often overlooked, as well as offering good examples that will help us remember these rules.

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