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The Revenge of Brand X

by Rob Frankel

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analyticalQ review
16 Mar 2002: branding and reputation

analyticalQ book reviews

Review by Ian Ferguson-Brown,
managing director of BrandBand.Com

Originally published in 2000 when the Internet still seemed so new and different to all the other normal rules of business, Rob Frankel's book targets principally web site and brand building virgins.

Rob, who modestly claims to be the most widely read branding expert on the planet, not only successfully sells and brands his own consultancy throughout the book but does for the most part succeed in his simple conversational tone to help his readers go beyond the wishful throwing of a logo onto a site to a rather more sophisticated yet practical approach to branding.

He falls down in a couple of areas--the excuse for the book is the premise that somehow the Internet has changed media for ever by giving power to the masses and more critically that brand building is somehow different on the net to any other media.

As with all new media, this may have had brief validation in the first months of consumer fascination with the medium and certainly ad agencies and others with great TV brand building skills failed dismally to adapt.

However branding is needed because consumers everywhere have a choice, emotional and practical, and the same skill set to influence that choice is needed everywhere whether it be in a supermarket with 70000 items, a week's TV viewing of 2000 ads or just one magazine with 70 ads or editorials in it. The numbers on the internet and method of selection changes nothing.

Brand building therefore needs to be so consistent that no matter where and how you hear, see or interact you get the same message.

Rob argues (and even trademarks) the fact that "branding is not about getting your prospects to choose you over your competition: its about getting your prospects to see you as the only solution to their problem."

Few would argue with that though it's hardly news but a brand's relevance changes over time -- these days, over weeks.

A brand needs a core value which differentiates and makes it relevant long term and then very often an ever evolving reason why or proof that makes it the only solution to your current problem.

Seems like a detail but it's making that ever changing current reason to buy consistent with core brand values that seems beyond most marketers, be they the branding virgins that Rob addresses so well in The Revenge of Brand X or the multinational clients and agencies that he enjoyably lambasts throughout (despite his own origins in the same companies).