November 06, 2004

Wired 12.11: The Decline of Brands

James Surowiecki, who is usually seen in The New Yorker, has a new piece in Wired about The Decline of Brands,

Annual rankings of brand value are littered with examples of firms that watched billions of dollars in supposed ‘brand equity’ vanish - not because they messed with their identities, but simply because they didn’t make a product or deliver a service that people needed. Even genuinely powerful brand association is no longer a guarantee that a company will make money. TiVo has revolutionized television, and even introduced a word into the consumer vernacular. But it hasn’t made a dime in profit.
He acknowledges the emotional connection that people form with brands, but he focuses strongly on the declining financial value of that connection, taking, as usual, an economic stance. I think he’s missing the point. Maybe brands are the point-of-entry, maybe they are a side-effect, not a driver, of having a good story to tell about what you’re selling. Check out the article - what would Naomi Klein say? A nice response is here.