Reports of the death of brands have been greatly exaggerated

Date of publication: June 15, 1994

Author: Paul Feldwick


The paper criticises the widespread speculation following "Marlboro Friday" in 1993 that consumers have turned against brands and are increasingly motivated by price alone. Retailer power is a real phenomenon, but many of the other claims made about the "nineties’ consumer" are at best speculative. What did happen in the eighties, however, was that too many brand owners behaved as if a brand name alone could guarantee continuous success and endless price rises. But a successful brand has to keep its promises, and consumers are not so easily deceived. Brands will survive because they offer important levels of reassurance and meaning to consumers. This will remain TRUE despite the changes taking place in the market. Successful brands need a sense of vision and purpose to direct their relationship with the consumer. The paper describes a framework for defining brand identity called Brand Foundations, developed and used within DDB Needham.

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