Posts Tagged ‘Advertising’
There’s an awful lot of bollox that gets talked about brands these days. Personal brands, global brands, build your brand, sell your brand. Sits neatly next to the instant gratification culture we seem to be hell bent on creating. I wonder what happened to craft?
In Brighton, the capital city of quirk, brand led ventures tend to lose out to home grown adventures. Quirky little restaurants with massive followings based on providing excellent service and a brilliantly original food beat the out of towners for both value and entertainment. Which is kind of ironic since it’s the “experience” that a brand is all about.
An example. A reasonably well known Pattisserie just opened a branch in Western Road, Hove. I’m anonymising the establishment purely for the sake of the staff, who were charming. Anyway, I decided to check it out for brunch on Sunday. Out of curiosity I trawled their web site and to my horror encountered a load of old guff about “the brand”. As in “Every ***** Café has its own individual style and decor, but all of them have the same continental atmosphere. A trip to ******* is a unique experience.” Unique as in same? Huh?
If you want to find out what’s really important to a company, look on their “Careers” pages. *******, established 1926 is in fact an “Exciting brand expanding across the UK” with a “Passion to develop great people across the business” providing “Fast track career progression” etc etc.
I’d seen enough, but not wanting to seem like a curmudgeon, wandered down anyway. The cakes looked lovely and the staff were very friendly. So far so good. I ordered Eggs Benedict and Coffee. The coffee was delicious. The Eggs Benedict arrived, inexplicably served on Brioche rather than Muffin. Alarmed by the prospect of sugary brioche clashing with the poached eggs and salmon, I queried it with the waitress. The menu it seems is handed down from head office. Part of the unique experience I guess. The eggs were raw on the inside, to the point of being inedible. The staff were mortified and knocked it off the bill without any fuss. On the way out the manageress asked me if everything had been ok for me today…
My point, and I do have one, is that if the service or the product or whatever damn thing you are selling is not good enough, then all the brand savvy in the world isn’t going to make your business successful. This notion that the brand is more valuable than the product is as foolish as the emperor who paraded through the streets stark naked. As a consumer of products, I expect a product to do what it says on the tin ie. work. As a consumer of services I want the service to succeed in delivering. If it doesn’t I will exercise my right to move to another provider. The brand and the service or product line should interlock, the two are stronger than the one. but if I had to choose just one, it would be a product every time.
It seems to me that building a brand, whether it’s personal or professional has to be done on firm foundations. The perception of quality cannot and should not be bought. Ferrari have a history of creating excellent motor cars. Apple a history of innovation and design excellence. These people have spent many years perfecting their craft and building slowly but surely, a brand that really is valuable. In the current economic climate, hype is yesterday’s news.