“Building strong brands is the key to success, in our opinion, not better products or better people ” said Laura Ries from Ries & Ries (the other Ries is Al Ries – who once wrote that “line extension has become the marketing sickness of the last decade. It seldom works.” ) (via A Clear Eye – where Tom Asacker clearly disagrees with her).
She also states that: “Because in America marketing is not considered important. Management, human relations, customer service are all considered of higher importance that marketing.”
Marketing may not be important in America, but to compare it as something distinct from customer service and human relations is so…well…20th century thinking and wrong. And it is equally wrong to say that brands are more important to a company’s success than products and people!
Where is the customer in this whole equation? Take Harley Davidson as an example – they truly have “branded” customers as defined by the original meaning of branding. But who owns that brand? And how tightly is it integrated with the product, or with customer service people?
Thinking of marketing as another silo-ed organization is a key to failure, and those who still believe that brands can be controlled and created by marketing departments are in it for a rough ride and big disillusionment.
We are seriously overdue for a new breed of marketers to come to the foreground and eclipse this old school of marketing thinkers.