Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Marketing is not a cost" - John Gerzema

I follow John Gerzema's Brand Bubble so I clicked on this video posted by my friend Saurav on Facebook. Soon I found myself listening intently to John who was talking about "Avoiding the Looming Crisis in Brand Value" in this year's The Economist Marketing Forum. He cites examples of brands who have done the right thing, he warns us of the changing consumer psyche and of the changing marketing principles. He talks about "trust", "value", "values" and "durability" among other things. Yes, we gotta get down to the basics, offer warranties, cherish loyalties etc. Those I have heard before. What I hadn't was what he said at the end - "Marketing is not a cost, but a fiduciary responsibility to share holders." I second that.

During the conference, John also says that this time around more and more brands are getting innovative with their approach. For eg, McDonalds has this website called where you can send a letter to your friend and stop him/her from paying for over-priced coffee. On the other hand, Starbucks has their Gold Card Program for people who really love Starbucks. These are just one of many promotional or branding ideas, one of which I had mentioned in a previous post of mine where I had maintained that "Quality Matters". Cause' it does. McDonald's can never ever get my coffee right whereas Starbucks does it everytime! But again, that's just my opinion.

Innovation. Competition. Both spell heaven for the consumer. Also, the economic meltdown has given us a chance to look at ourselves and re-think our choices
. Our regulatory bodies have a lot to learn. So do we and the brands we promote or purchase.

John also said that "Trust in brands has declined by 50%" while according to Brand Asset Valuator (BAV), "Trust is the second-most desirable attribute for a brand, right after high quality". It is interesting to note here that "sensuous" is the least desirable attribute.

It makes sense, doesn't it? Consumers want to be able to trust their brands, they don't need them to be sexy! Marketing is definitely a fiduciary responsibility, but we have to make sure we market the right goods or services. Quality matters. As always.

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