Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Brands brands brands

I got asked tonight to name my most loved and hated brand, and after some impulsive thinking I named Burberry as my most loved and Playboy as my most hated.

So why Burberry? Although I love fashion I think there's nothing worse than an aspiring fashion marketer naming a 'label' rather than a brand as their most loved brand. Whilst I know that labels can be brands and brands can be labels, I value a brand's history and 'empire' as well as its strategy and positioning, and I think a lot of new designers' establishing labels out there simply design clothes and that's it.

Perhaps it's also because these labels are still in brand infancy, after all Burberry started somewhere with Thomas Burberry creating the iconic trench coat for English and French soldiers in WWI, but with the choice of all the brand giants out there why choose a boutique fashion label as a most loved?

For me, Burberry has this beautiful history behind it, established in 1856, it's really stood the test of time, and successfully repositioned itself along the way through challenging times (eg. 'Chavdom'). I just love the feeling of British heritage and culture, and feel that their products, extensions and designs have always stayed relevant to the core brand.(My profile picture is even a shot of Kate Moss from the 2005 Spring Summer Burberry campaign).

Playboy on the other hand has just diverged into so many product categories that the initial brand has been cheapened so much, if that was possible! One of their taglines is "Head to Toe: We've Got You Covered", which is exactly the problem; too much, too varied and bad quality. Don't worry about buying fake Playboy as the craftsmanship is probably better than the real thing. Anyway moving on...

A book which I recommend (especially since you can read it for free on Google Books here) is Matt Haig's Brand Royalty which differentiates brands into great categories such as distraction brands, muscle brands, consistent brands and responsibility brands. It really does cover most of the top brands discussed today. He also, has a less popular book Brand Failures, which would be a good retrospective read to get an insight into what went wrong with some brands.

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