Janine Ramlochan makes an interesting point that she learned from working with a Japanese team. The emphasis is mine:
It became clear, the ‘western’ approach to brand-building did not apply in the same way ~ particularly, as western brand-building has normally been used to extend relevance in the absence of innovation. In markets where consumers were more “innovation-chasing”, brand-building needed to be balanced with innovation for a brand to survive. And if a brand carried too much baggage for a new innovation, it would sometimes make more sense to just launch a new brand instead.
This brings me back to my rather surreal days as an advertising copywriter: “You were excited about Nike. You were excited about Starbucks. You were excited about Apple. And now here’s your chance to get excited about diet supermarket cheddar!!”
For twenty-odd years the Western marketing world totally got into this idea of “The Brand”. Even the part of the Western marketing world that has lousy brands.
i.e. This Platonic ideal that was was somehow more than the sum of its parts via-a-vis your company, your product and your reputation. It was nostalgic, idealized, romanticized, backward-looking and, for all its warm n’ fuzzy stuff, extremely cynical.
It was meant to bring comfort and continuity to both mainstream Western society and, I suspect more importantly, to Wall Street traders and aging, second-rate corporate hacks with big mortgages. Lucky them.
Far too many people, when asked why they get out of bed in the morning, only have one genuine answer: “Because I need the money.” The Cult of The Brand evolved the way it did, primarily to keep the latter contented.
Which is too bad. Life is short.