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The emperor's new clothes
on June 5, 2003
The authors seem to think a company's success rises and falls on branding alone - no other factors (pricing, promotion, distribution, product quality, etc) are relevant. I suppose if you make your living taking consulting dollars from companies you need to build a mythology that branding is a mystic and powerful art that only highly paid professionals can master. They probably think the Titantic wouldn't have sunk if it had been branded better.
Many of their examples are poorly defended. As one reviewer put it they allow the reader to think of plenty of counterexamples.
The book would be much better with more analysis of success creation instead of repetitive bad-mouthing of 'bad moves'. For instance, they mention how Black & Decker successfully created the DeWalt brand, but the authors didn't discuss the appropriate scope for it. Should it apply only to drills? Cordless tools? High-priced tools? What would be the consequenses of defining the brand along these lines? Such a case study would have been more helpful in illustrating their points.
The arrogance of the author's make the read annoying, along with their neglect of the importance of marketing to the distributors as well as end users. For example, Coke needs to be in thousands of resturants, stadiums, and vending machines before it gets to consumers. This has ramifications on the breadth and scope of product line, not to mention distribution. Any marketing department has to consider factors like this, but the book oversimplifies all matters to branding decisions.
There are a few good points, however, about line extensions and cannibalization. Take the rest with a grain of salt.