What makes Scott Bedbury’s A New Brand World stand out from the dozens of books written about brand building over the past couple of years is that it takes a holistic approach. “Brand building,” he says, “is much more than the responsibility of the marketing department or even the CEO. Building and supporting a great brand is everyone’s job, from the CEO on down.”
Bedbury, whose experience includes senior marketing positions at Nike and Starbucks, makes a compelling case that brand awareness, once the holy grail of marketing, is “fool’s gold,” pointing to the dot-com craze as ample evidence. Companies should instead be aiming for brand strength, which adds relevance and resonance to awareness.
To get there, he says, companies have to build emotional bonds with their customers (he cites Harley-Davidson as an example) and by managing not only advertising and other marketing materials but also the entire environment in which the brand operates. Says Bedbury, “Brand environmentalism means accepting the responsibility to protect your brand and present it in the best possible light whenever and wherever it may be found.”
He also emphasizes the importance of employees as brand stewards—an idea at the heart of the Starbucks story—and offers sound advice to those who would build great, lasting brands: laugh at yourself; have a heart; stand for something; become a more human employer; listen and watch.
This, not a better ad campaign, is the future of branding.