Category Archives: The Brand Book Compendium

Branding now, a brand blog compendium

Brandingnowbookcoverfinal_2 Whew.  It’s done.

Faithful readers of this blog will have noticed a new strategy here on This Blog.  It is, as Leon Jacobs noted, a little like a sit com flash back.

But, no, here’s what I had in mind.  I have published around 1.4 million words on this blog, and that makes any particular set of posts hard to find.  Yes, you can do a key word search.  But you still end up with a long list of posts and no clear idea of their relationship one to the other. 

How, I wondered, could I do a compendium of posts organized for easier access.  Organized in a PDF file, what you get is a single page that gives you a jumping off point for 40 blog posts.  (Be careful to come back to the PDF by way of your "return" button.)

I like the way MindManager organizes things in a tree diagram.  And that’s what I used. 

Here’s is the file I have created.  You may download it here.

Download branding_now_blog_compendium_grant_mccracken.pdf

I am trying to post it to the sidebar of this Typepad site, but I really don’t understand Typepad programming (or even, shame of shame, HTML).  Anyone with suggestions, please let me know and I will keep tinkering. 

Lots of people have lots of content on their blogs.  This is one way to extract and organize this content.  I am sure there are others.  Would love to hear your comments, dear reader, on this and other options.

Thanks to for this and several images for the Branding now, blog compendium. 

Branding now (a last word on the Brand Now compendium)

Brandingnowbookcoverfinal The Coca-Cola Company spent more than $4.1 billion on branding in 2007.  That’s one brand in one year. The collective expenditure by American corporations each year must run to a breathtaking sum.

But the art and science of branding remains messy and imperfect, filled with bad ideas, snake oil salesmen, silly trends and sloppy practice.  The time has come to clear the decks and see what we can say.  I offer these 40 essays.  I don’t say they are the definitive word on branding.  I do hope they help a little. Let me sum up.

Broadly, the brand should reflect the CEO’s vision, the consumers’ wishes, and the real capabilities of the product line. It should help transport the enterprise from the commodity basement into the heavens where real value is made and captured.  It should be responsive to trends in consumer taste and preference (i.e., culture above).  It should be responsive to the fundamentals that shape our culture over the long term(i.e., culture below).  It should produce content that consumers can use as they build and feed their social networks.  It should enable consumers to produce content for the brand and the social world.  It should strip out any "value tax" inflicted on the consumer.  It should engage in a process of value creation that benefits consumers, communities and cultures almost equally.  (Enough of Microsoft’s zero sum bullying.)

Narrowly, the brand is build out of meanings.  The art of meaning management turns on choosing the right meanings, in the right form, and how best to communicate and claim them. In the compendium, the Volvo case serves as standard practice.  But, sometimes, meaning making is made easy by the competition. Microsoft effectively helped build the brand for Apple and Google.  Martha Stewart made things easier for Rachel Ray.  More often, the brand has to make meanings by its own efforts.  In the case of Volvo, this meant a conspiracy of good marketing, as strategists, planners, creatives, to capture the meaning "safety" in the form that mattered most.

The meaning manager has an entire culture from which to source meanings.  In this compendium, we noted, HP claim dynamism, Coke claimed women and self transformation, Starbucks claimed the generosity of strangers, to name few.  But we note that many brands continue to behave quite badly, proof, I believe, that marketing is still so bad at meaning management that "rookie errors" remain common. 

This compendium also demonstrates that there is plenty of room for experimentation and innovation in the world of meaning management. Brands are becoming more animated, more charismatic, and more playful.  They are learning to be many things to many people, to include the consumer as a brand creator, and to master more, more subtle meanings.  Finally, they are learning to use transmedia, brand theater, social networks and an emerging range of expressive opportunities. 

As Tom Guarriello once said to me, "Hey, it’s true that they say about marketing.  It’s not rocket science.  It’s a lot more complicated than rocket science."


The statistic in the first paragraph comes from the 2007 Annual Report for The Coca-Cola Company here

Click here

Click_here I went to lunch with a friend recently.  He manages a big brand.  We surveyed the state of branding and before long we were shaking our heads. 

Bad ideas flourish.  Bad thinkers flourish.  Good practice never seems to drive out bad practice. The world of branding just churns. 

Marketers have been doing branding professionally for about 100 years now.  But branding is anything but professional. 

I came back to my desk and wondered what I could do.  I’ve written some 1.4 million words on my blog, some of them on branding.  Why not, I wondered, make these more accessible?  Hence this "blog compendium."  Here on 40 posts of branding.

I have a point of view of branding.  I call it "meaning management."  Think of it as a cultural, an anthropological approach to marketing.  I think these 40 posts capture a consistent, practical point of view.  I hope readers will let me know where and when they work in practice.

Here’s how to read this document:  Click on any rectangle here and it will take you to a post.  Close the browser and you will be returned to this file.  Click on the big rectangles for each section, and you will get an overview of the section. (For those who’re interested, I prepared the document using MindManager and Acrobat PDF conversion.)

My credentials: I have a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Chicago.  I was the Director and the founder of the Institute of Contemporary Culture.  I have taught at the University of Cambridge, the Harvard Business School and M.I.T.  I have consulted to many firms, including The Campbell Soup Company, The Coca-Cola Company, IBM, and Kimberly Clark, to name a few.  I have written several books including Culture and Consumption I, Plenitude, Culture and Consumption II, The Long Interview, Flock and Flow, and Transformations.   I am a member of the I.B.M. advisory council on Social Networking and a research affiliate at M.I.T. 


To for the image. 

Brand strategy

Brand_strategy Branding is surrounded by spectacular change.  In this section, I want to canvas some of our strategic opportunities.

The Learning Personhood from William Shakespeare post: Brands are going from wooden, overdrawn, repetitive creatures to something more nuanced, complex and interesting.  This just happens to be the transition that Shakespeare brought to the theater of 16th century England.  (See the post here.)

The Learning Charisma from Cate Blanchet post: We take the comparison a step further.  If we have something to learn from Shakespeare’s theater, we have something to learn from Cate Blanchet’s charisma.  (See the post here.)

The Learning Playfulness from Craig Ferguson post: And why not take a step farther still?  (We could have called this book Learning from Hollywood.  I may yet.)  Here we look at what Craig Ferguson brought to late night television.  By this time in his distinguished career, Letterman is very like many brands we know.  At this point, he’s just phoning it in.  Ferguson is playful, a little surreal at times, vivid, changeable, unpredictable, insinuating, co-conspiratorial, and a little hyperactive.  Branders take note.  (See the post here.)

The Learning Cocreation from Chevy post: We have seen from some time now that brands have to give up some of the levers of control.  This is hard to do.  It’s scary to do.  And it’s easy to do badly.  Most of all, it takes a new set of tolerance for noise and for risk.  But it’s got to be done.  The only way to participate in the world of the consumer is to let the consumer to participate in the world of the brand.  These are early days and we have lots to learn.  I think Chevy offers a brilliant first effort.  (See the post here .)

The Learning Multiplicity from Unilever post: As we know, consumer taste and preference have fragmented.  This means the brand has to learn how to be many things to many people.  Consistency is dead.  We must become masters of multiplicity.  (See the post here.)

The Learning Mystery from American Express post:  Perhaps the most revolutionary thing a brand can do in it’s effort to manage meaning is to embrace meanings that are a little unclear.  This breaks the first rule of marketing (keep it simple, stupid) and it’s precisely what American Express did when it asked M. Night Shyamalan to do ads for their Oscar campaign.  It is a study in indeterminacy, and perhaps the most daring piece of advertising we have seen in a long time.   (See the post here.)

The Learning Transmedia from Mr. Clean post: As brand messages now travel in more media and new media, we are having to create brands that speak with many, different voices.   "Transmedia" is a concept given us by MIT colleague Henry Jenkins, and in this post I try to apply it to the brand called Mr. Clean.  (See the post here.) 

The Learning Brand Theater from My Own Experience post: This post describe my attempt to build a brand by taking a theatrical approach to meaning making.  This marks a shift from the "big cannon" approach to branding, the one that uses mass media, simple messages, and constant repetition, to something much more nuanced, personal, and indeed, person to person.  This is branding as a tiny theatrical production in your own local pub or bar.  See what you think.  (See the post here.)

The Learning Networks from Nike post: Social networks are the single biggest revolution to sweep through the world of the marketing since World War II.  In this post, I examine how Nike with Nike+ managed to go from" selling shoes" to a much richer, social experience which is now doing magnificent things for the brand, volume and profit.  (See the post here.) 

In sum, branding is now a lively art.  Brands are becoming more animated, charismatic, and playful.  They are learning to be more things to more people, to include the consumer as a brand creator, and to master more subtle meanings.  Finally, they are learning to use transmedia, brand theater and social networks. 

A friend said to me, "Hey, I guess it’s true that they say about marketing.  It’s not rocket science.  If what you’re saying is true, it’s more complicated than rocket science."

Brand tactics

Branding_tactics_2 Brands are built…out of culture…out of meanings from culture. 

In the Volvo campaign, the meaning was safety and symbol for this safety was a little girl.  Pretty standard.

But this book is interested in new ways to source meaning.  Let’s look at new, emerging brand tactics. 

The Dove Mining Culture post: Dove went looking in a new place.  It noticed that our culture is changing the way we think about beauty.  It seized on this as a brand opportunity.  Anyone could have done this.  But only Dove did.  And there are lots of additional cultural ideas out there waiting to go.  Who will step up?   (See the post here.) 

The Nike Mining History post: Nike has worked the world of sport pretty extensively.  And now the brand is looking for new meanings, in this case from the history of sport.  "No Boots in the Shower" brilliant.  This is a bad of the culture of sports as cultivated by the British tradition.  Vivid, evocative, meaty.  (See the post here.) 

The Kleenex Mining Emotion post: A lot of marketing has devoted itself to a kind of "fun in the sun" creative.  (Think of those Coke ads in the 1950s that showed kids racing down a beach in an open convertible. Donna Marie still turns out this kind of thing.)  This is the sort of thing that made branding seem simple minded and insubstantial.  But there is change here too.  In this case, Kleenex actually reached out to claim negative emotion.  A brilliant marketing move.   Hat’s off to JWT New York. (See the post here.)

The BMW Mining Frustration post: BMW did their research.  They reached into the professional lives of the BMW owner and discovered a problem.  All of us have one of these problem.  He’s that nitwit, the  one who uses the resources of the corporation to frustrate the corporation and the talented people who work there.  Brilliant move.  A meaning that resonates with my life.  I know it resonates with yours.  Splendid way to build the brand.  (See the post here.)

The Mastercard Mining Payton Manning post: Celebrity endorsement has been with us for a long time.  In this campaign, Mastercard finds a new and interesting way to use Payton Manning in a brilliant piece of strategic and creative work.  Hat’s off McCann-Erickson/New York and of course Mr. Manning.  (See the post here.)

The American Century Fails to Mine Lance Armstrong post: When American Century created this campaign, Armstrong was just about as important as a celebrity could be.  He had defeated cancer and he had won the Tour de France.  But American Century blew it.  There is a method for extracting meanings from a famous person.  If we don’t get it right, we can do more harm than good.  (See the post here.)

The Acura Fails to Mine the Culture of the Moment post: This bring us full circle back to the opening post, the one about Dove.  Dove managed to find something in our culture that could make the brand resonate.  Here we look at Acura trying to the same thing but failing to get it right.  More proof, I think, that this meaning management thing is harder than it looks.  (See the post here.) 

In sum, two things:

1) we have build brands out of meaning for a long time, but we continue to make mistakes so fundamental I believe they qualify as "rookie errors."

2) there is plenty of room for experimentation and innovation here at the tactic level.


McCracken, Grant.  2005. Meaning management.  In Culture and Consumption II: markets, meaning and brand management.  Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp. 175-191. 

McCracken, Grant. 2006. Meet Rosi: scourge of the new advertising.  This Blog. October 27, 2008.  here

The Brand Philosophers

Brand_philosophers Branding and marketing books have a bad habit.  They ignore other branding books.  They ignore other authors and ideas.

This is one of the reasons the branding debate is such a mess.  We are not good at discouraging bad ideas.  We are not good at promoting good ideas.  In fact, the branding debate isn’t a deabate.  It’s everyone talking at once. 

The My Heroes post: This is a quick review of the authors, ideas and communities I admire the most.  (See the post here.) 

The Kevin Roberts post:
Roberts’ book has some good ideas, but mostly it’s an ad for Kevin Roberts and his ad agency.  Books have a solemn duty: to make original proposition as clearly as possible.  It is not to shill on behalf of a person or an agency.  (See the post here.) 

The Sir John Hegarty post: Hegarty is a big sneeze in the English marketing community.  Hence the knighthood.  And you would think this position of leadership would make him a good spokesman for the field.  But no.  Instead, Sir John decided to tell the world that marketing and branding is effectively mysterious.  You either get it or you don’t.  It’s about taste, which you have and you don’t have.  This is just bone stupid.  But worse than that it takes back to the day when ad agency turned the creative process into a black box, and said to the client, effectively, this is much too complicated for you ever to understand.  Just give us the money and we’ll give you an ad.   (See the post here.) 

The Clotaire Rapaille post: What do you say about a guy who claims to have cracked the code of India?   One of the things we must grasp in order to be better at branding is culture.  (This is one way to move the debate beyond Sir John’s "it’s all about taste" argument.)  But when Clotaire treats culture, he simplifies it shamelessly.  Now I understand that he is a charismatic guy and that he can have a memerizing effect on the C suite.  But marketing and culture are too important to the brand and too important to the corporation to be treated with so little nuance, knowledge and power. (See the post here.) 

The Jerry Zaltman post: Jerry is a prince of a guy and I loved having him as a colleague at the Harvard Business School.  But the trouble with his work is that Jerry doesn’t understand culture at all.  He is a perfectly typically b-school prof and this isolation has cost him dear.  Zaltman is at least an improvement on Rapaille.  He doesn’t just make stuff up.  But when Jerry sits down to divine the cultural meanings, he is not qualified to deliver good results.  More particularly, you may not talk about metaphor, unless you know about culture.  (See the post here.)

The James Surowiecki post:
I have great admiration for Surowiecki.  He is the author of the Wisdom of Crowds book and a real contributor to the marketing debate.  But in the Surowiecki essay I study in this post, we see Surowiecki insisting that we think about the consumer as a rational creature.  When consumers comes to brands they are not calculating interest narrowing defined.  They come to our brands looking for ideas with which to furnish their worlds, their families, their homes, and their selves.  When we think about them as interest seekers, as creatures of the economics paradigm, we misunderstand them most fundamentally.   Now, some people want to broaden our view of the consumer by insisting on the consumer’s left brain, their emotion, their creativity.  And this is useful as far as it goes.  But in fact, what we really want to get into the paradigm is culture.  This is where we see the consumer whole. (See the post here.) 

The Clayton Christensen post: Christensen is another person for whom I have great respect.  I was lucky enough to have had him as a colleague when I was teaching at the Harvard Business School.  But I have to say, I was astonished when he proposed this idea of the Purpose Brand.  Wow, talk about missing the mark.  Talk about failing to see the consumer and brand in their full richness and complexity.  Talking about undercutting the marketing mission.   We are obliged to say, pace Surowiecki, that marketing is not economics.  And here we must say it’s not engineering! (See the post here.)

The Chris Anderson post:
This post came about in a strange way.  I made a stray remark about The Long Tail, and Anderson dropped by the blog to challenge me.  And naturally I responded.  I was trained at the University of Chicago.  We are built for combat.  Anderson apparently didn’t know this about the University of Chicago and retired from the field immediately.   I hear from friends he now speaks ill of me privately.  (Dude, man up and say it in public. )  Anyhow, here’s a guy who was in a very nice position to take on the big issues that confronted branding now that we are engaged in what the Cluetrain boys call a "conversation" and he whiffed completely. (See the post here.) 


With thanks to for the image. 

Brands Behaving Well

Brands_behaving_well When brands are behaving well, it’s because they have found a way to capture the meanings that work best for the brand.

Sometimes, these meanings come easily.  All we have to do is to push off against our chief competitor.  For Apple, this meant taking aim at Microsoft.  For Google, this meant taking aim at Microsoft.  We might say that Microsoft has been one of the great brand builders of our age. 

The Apple post: When Apple decided to use Intel chips, the agency, TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles, knew what to do.  Treat this as Intel’s liberation from all that is dull and tedious about the world of Microsoft.  Since the writing of this post, we have seen the PC vs. Mac campaign,  TBWA/Media Arts Lab, roll out to spectacular effect.  Here too Mac is hip and interesting, and PC dull, stodgy, and clueless.  In a sense, Apple built it’s brand merely by being what Microsoft was not.  (See the post here.)

The Google post: Google has had this advantage, too.  "Don’t do evil," the words of the corporate slogan meant, really, Don’t be Microsoft.  But when I wrote this post, the bloom was suddenly off the rose for the Google brand.  In effect, Google was suddenly discovering that not being Microsoft was not enough.   It was now obliged to make it’s own brand meanings.  (See the post here.)

The Rachel Ray post: We have lots to learn about branding from celebrities.  If only corporate brands were so responsive, so charismatic.  In the case of Rachel Ray, we have another case in which brand building is mostly a matter of pushing off against the competition.  In this case, it meant not being Martha.  Talk about an easy target.  Martha Stewart is famous for being status conscious, status anxious, particular, bossy and self important.  Along comes a woman like Ray who is casual, relaxed, forgiving, and goodhearted.  You might say she had found her Microsoft. (See the post here.) 

The Volvo post: But sometimes we have to make brand meanings the old fashioned way.  We have to earn them.  We don’t have a competitor to push off against, we have to start from zero.  In this post, I look at Volvo and an ad by Euro RSCG, that figures out the things the brand can and should stand for.  In the case, the most precious things in a man’s life: his daughter.  And it captures this daughter in her most precious moment.  And there is suddenly an arch.  All that is precious about the daughter comes to reside in the brand capable of protecting this preciousness.  This is meaning manufacture of a powerful kind. (See the post here.) 

The Old Spice post: Once we decide that we are going to search out meanings for the brand, there are millions of choices.  We have an entire culture to draw upon.  In this case, we look at two men’s colognes both of which have fallen from fashion.  Their meanings passed their "best by" expiary date and it is now time to start again.  Both perfumes are struggling to come up with new meanings.  Aqua Velva is looking in the wrong place.  Old Spice, drawing upon the characteristically brilliant work of Wieden + Kennedy, is looking in the right place.  In this case, they are drawing upon the irony created in the 1990s and the distance with which Gens X and Y now treat old fashioned kinds of masculinity.  The brand is current once more. (See the post here.) 

The HP post: In this case, we see the brand attempting something pretty daring in the field of meaning manufacture.  HP attempts to claim the best face of the future, the notions of dynamism and responsiveness.  I was unkind to HP’s meaning making efforts in the last section.  In this case, I think they get things right.  Hats off to the agency Goodby, Silverstein and Partners.  (See the post here.) 

The Coca-Cola Company post: I was unkind to Coke in the last section, but here I think they show what they can do.  This ad, by Foote, Cone & Belding, New York, captures one of the most resonant themes in contemporary culture, self-transformation and women’s empowerment.  This is a sensational "connect" with meanings that matter.  Coke is of course an interesting case study for anyone interesting in branding.  After all, this is the company that managed to turn sweet, brown water into a sign of America.  Now that’s meaning manufacture.  But  the corporation has been uneven in brand building.  Coke was smart enough to hire the likes of Sergio Zyman and Mary Minnick, and stupid enough to let Daft fire the Atlanta marketing department at a critical time.  (See the post here.)

The Starbucks post: This post was about a funny little accident that gave Starbucks an opportunity to connect with the social networks and one of the great cultural trends of our time.   Let’s call the latter the "kindness of strangers" trend.  (See the Tag, We’re It link at the bottom of this post for more on this trend.)  Anne Saunders is VP of Global Brand Strategy at Starbucks gets the credit.   This ends up as a useful play on the networking theme, and as we now know, this is the great Tsunami now running through the world of marketing. (See the post here.)

In sum:

Brands behave well when they are smart about the meanings they create for themselves.  The trick is to discover which meanings, in which form, and how best to communicate and claim them. 

Sometimes, meaning making is made easy by the competition.  Microsoft make things easier for Apple and Google.  Martha Stewart made things easier for Rachel Ray. 

Sometimes, the brand has to make meanings by its own efforts, and in the case of Volvo, this meant going out, doing the research, building the strategy, and capturing the meaning "safety" in the form that matters most.

There are lots of other meanings to work with:

HP claimed dynamism.

Coke claimed women and self transformation.

Starbucks claimed the generosity of strangers.

Well behaving brands can claim any numbers of meanings.

Brands Behaving Badly

Brands_behaving_badly I am working on a way to draw together the pieces of this blog.  Here are the posts that fall under the theme Brands Behaving Badly.  This post is an overview, a meta-post, as it were.

The Sony post:  brands being vertically consistent.  This post shows Stringer saying one thing and Sony doing another.  In the old days, this was fine.  CEOs and PR machines would pump out message that didn’t always square with what was happening on the shelf.  In a new brand era, consumers expect a consistency.  If you are going to talk it, you have to walk it.  Plus, there is a strong sense that CEOs craft the company, not just the vision statement.  Especially in an era of Steven Jobs, Jeffrey Immelt, Richard Branson, and A.G. Lafley.  (See the post here.)

The HP post: brands being horizontally consistent.  This post shows that an HP ad promises a brand new approach, with no evidence that there is hardware or software.  This is a return to the old days in which the product was one thing and advertising something completely different.  I like the idea of making new brand meanings to crawl out of the commodity basement that now threatens personal computers, but the meanings can’t just sit on the surface of the brand.  They have to be "built inside."  (See the post here.) 

The Yahoo post:  brands telling their story.  Yahoo has bags of talent.  In their time, people like Stewart Butterfield, Caterina Fake, Joshua Schacter, Jeff Weiner, Usama Fayyad, Jeremy Zawodny, JR Conlin, Bradley Horowitz, and Marc Davis.  It has many great products: Delicious, Flickr and Fire Eagle. But these vital parts of the brand proposition never seem to get branded with Yahoo.  Naming is a complicated business, but when we are busting with talent and ideas, we want the brand to get its share of the credit.  We want the parts of the brand to create value for the whole of the brand.  (See the post here.)

The Wal-Mart post: climbing the value hierarchy.  In the early days, Wal-Mart could win by beating everyone at the price game.  Pile em high, sell em cheap.  And it worked.  But now Wal-Mart dominates retail so thoroughly that growth is possible only if it begins to climb upwards into more premium markets.  And now it really has its work cut out for it.  Now it is playing a real branding game.  Not a moment too soon, Target has been playing this game for some time.  Now Wal-Mart must actually know something about consumer preference, and now it must be able to track sudden changes in this preference. (See the post here.)

The Coca-Cola post: speaking of consumer preference, this post is about the consumer sending Coke a message, and the way Coke responded.  It’s not often that consumers get to say what they want this clearly.  The old Coke would have treated this as an aberration.  But the new Coke is learning what it is to live in a market with lots of competitors and lots more choice.  We might think they would take this "message in a bottle" a little more seriously.  This is the new name of the game. (See the post here.)

The New York Times post: One of the ways to connect with consumers is to help them create content.  This has been the big revolution driven by the emergence of social media and social networks.  Every consumer is now building a bigger network.  And to sustain this network, they need to create and x content.  Smart brands are making themselves useful.  They know that helping the consumer make content for himself helps him make value for the brand.  In this post, I look at an odd case in which the New York Times actually decided to destroy consumer content.  Proving once more perhaps that you cannot teach the grey lady new tricks.  (See the post here.)

The Microsoft post1: I used to be a Microsoft loyalist.  And then I got whammed by spam.  For some reason, Microsoft thought this spam was my problem.  Enter Google who found a way to fix the problem.  This is not just about a better value proposition.  This is about finding a way to get rid of "value tax."  Spam was a value tax on email.  Features that I couldn’t find or couldn’t work were a value tax on my cell phone, my software, my hardware.  One of the ways of creating value is by getting certain product features and deficits out of the way.  The iPhone is everyone’s favorite case in point here.  And so it should be.  It creates all the features I want in exactly the configuration that makes them most useful and most accessible to me.  Oh, well, this is turning into a post of its own.  In this present post, I was merely noting that eBay could go the way of Microsoft if it didn’t devote itself to a value tax reduction strategy. (see the post here.)

The Microsoft post2: And this brings us full circle on the Brands Behaving Badly.  After all no brand has behaved quite as badly in our time as Microsoft.  And in the case of this post, we look at the behavior of the new head of Microsoft now that Bill Gates has returned.  In the place of this slightly nerdy guy with the big glasses, we have a first class bully.  A man who apparently said of Eric Schmidt, head of Google, "I am going to f*cking bury that guy."  (see the post here.)

In sum, brands should reflect

1) what CEOs say and do (Sony),

2) the real product and service offering (HP),

3) the whole story of the brand (Yahoo),

4) a passage up out of the commodity basement into the value rich heavens (Wal-Mart),

5) a respect the consumers’ wishes when they find a way of signalling these wishes (Coca-Cola),

6) a respect the consumers’ content when they find a way of creating this content (The New York Times),

7.1) a way of getting rid of value taxes that stand between the consumer and the value created by the product and the consumer (Microsoft).

7.2) a regard for the marketplace as something that creates value for everyone, not just the corporation in a narrowly defined game of zero sum bullying (Microsoft). 


Thanks to for the image.