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"Traditional Branding Is Simply No Longer Relevant"


Branding has grown with such fervor that is has totally spiraled out-of-control and has become a global business epidemic. It's touted as a powerful "magical" asset to gain favorability and loyalty. CPAs place unrealistic values on a brand asset. Companies spend millions with brand experts and identity firms.


Stop believing the "brand" religion.


Did Steve Jobs spends millions on a brand program? Absolutely not. He let innovation define and position Apple. He spent millions on innovation because well before the brand become a phrase tossed around with God-like quality, he recognized that innovation ruled. Innovation creates products and services. Innovation creates loyalty. Innovation creates the future.


And that's still the rule today. Just look at Google or Facebook. And Instagram didn't spend millions on branding before it became a hit with millions of members.


Don't get me wrong. I know the value in creating a stellar identity and brand. I just don't think pouring a lot of cash is the way to go. I'm all for consistency in naming structures and the look and feel of a company's assets. But I don't buy branding as a win-all solution.


I've helped many companies review and analyze their brand work and I've seen how many valuable resources have been wasted on academic-like brand talk. Companies who spent thousands and even millions on positioning, differentiation, value, relevance.


Branding has been such a force in the past decade that re-branding is now making its wave. While rebranding advocates will tout the necessity to update positioning to a new world, I wonder if it's because they didn't get the branding right the in the first place. Or maybe it's because branding isn't the magical answer to a magical world. Just saying. Something doesn't fit quite right here.


I firmly believe innovation is the key - not branding. Create products and services that inspire. Create lifestyle changes. Create a new order of harmony.


Frankly, I believe in the Apple model. It's also apparent in a lot of other companies from such giants such as Oracle to inventor start-ups such as Dyson.


To understand why traditional branding is no longer relevant, you have to understand there's been a shift in product development. Linear product extensions have been the norm for decades. Today, functional integration rules. It enables a new order of innovation never imagined. It lets innovation itself create the branding. It will evolve on its own.


And that's why I don't see traditional branding as being relevant to the future.