Brand vs. Commodity

A discussion on the difference between a brand and a commodity is going on at one of my groups on LinkedIn. This discussion was initiated by Marco Monfils from Hungary. More than 150 comments have been made so far, highlighting marketing and sales professionals love for this topic. It is interesting that respondents presented their own definition and description of a brand and commodity, no author was quoted and the comments varied greatly. I noticed two significant trends as follows:

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Big Isn’t Always Beautiful

2009 – Toyota became the biggest car manufacturer in the world surpassing General Motors.

2010 – Toyota recalls 8 million cars worldwide to fix problems with brakes, accelerators and steering.

In their quest to be the biggest car manufacturers, it seems Toyota (TMC) lost sight of quality and focused on quantity producing more but defective cars, consequently tarnishing their image for “Toyota’s Reliability”. It will take the TMC a while, huge resources and investment to re-gain their market position. Earlier, the GM was the biggest car manufacturer for years and became so bloated that they lost touch with their customers and lost their loyalty, got consumer perception for low quality, focused on push sales and short-term gains and could not stay profitable. Result – the US government had to intervene to rescue the GM from bankruptcy but not before major layoffs and closing of several plants. Read more of this post

My Favourite Brands

 Harley-Davidson: For over 100 years, Harley-Davidson has successfully targeted, satisfied perceived needs and touched the lives of its target market, that is, men and women of 40+ years. It understands its target market well. It cultivates emotional bond via innovative graphic advertising and classic conditioning through exposure to its ads, merchandising and branding. It fulfills the brand promise with consistent product quality and meets perceived needs for freedom and sense of achievement. Harley Davidson is an iconic brand with highest brand loyality from generations of customers.

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Know Your Market

Marketers know how vital it is to understand the target market and its nuances for successfully positioning and marketing products and services. This becomes increasingly important in international markets, where cultural differences accentuate the significance of understanding consumer behaviour and markets. You may have heard stories about marketers and brands facing problems because of not respecting cultural differences and expected norms.

The following joke candidly depicts a similar situation!

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Advertising in Recession

Some advertisers tend to pull back on advertising during economic downturn. I see several advertisers are contemplating to cut down on advertising and few have already done so. This knee-jerk reaction is natural amid news of slowing economy, job losses, turmoil in auto sector and sub-par (read sub-prime) performance by the financial sector. I believe that retrenchment decisions are largely influenced by emotional and psychological stimuli from the external environment. I would digress momentarily to share a joke with you in support of the above premise. A friend, Ahad Rasheed, sent this joke and I quote with some additions.

 

An old man used to sell hot dogs. His eyesight was weak so he neither read newspapers nor watched TV. All he did was selling hot dogs and he sold lots of them and had a good income. Old man son graduates from a business school and joins him in business. He tells his father that economy is not doing well and he should save some cash, as Cash is King! The old man started buying fewer buns and meat, closed his shop before sunset to save on Hydro bills and consequently his sales went down. His brother retired from a government job and had seen the old man prosper by selling hot dogs. So he wanted to invest in hot dog business too. He seeks old man advice. Guess what, the old man advised; the economy is slow and hot dog sales are down. It is recession!

 

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Creative advertising IV

Life size images were stuck on glass doors at shops, airports in South Africa for the advertisement of glass and window cleaner I.C.U. The expression on the face is priceless.

Creative Advertising III

This is another creative advertising initiative. It was created in Vancouver during the National Non-Smoking Week. The car was placed at the Vancouver Art Gallery and the message reads ‘Death from car accidents: 370, Death from smoking-related causes: 6,027, Quit now before it kills you.’

The visual presentation is relevant and accentuates the clear and short caption. Visual and message convey that smoking kills and draw a comparison to establish severity of problem.

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