I just got off the phone with John Winsor. We had a great conversation about brands and marketing, and we’re essentially on the same page. He posts his own response to my comments here. I have to say what I appreciate about the whole experience is finding a thread online that leads to an open and engaging discussion, less about "what’s wrong" with marketing per se than about how marketing can be done more effectively.
John’s focus is on the development of *real* interaction between marketers and their customers, rather than the relationship-by-proxy that happens through agencies, focus-groups, surveys, etc. He talks about going Beyond the Brand (ie: the hype of branding) by changing the one-way flow of marketing communication–the broadcasting of a pre-fab message–to a two-way dialog with customers. I can’t argue with that–in fact, I’m looking forward to more of a dialog with John in the future.
This is unreal. Over at Corante’s BrandShift blog, John Winsor is arguing that the word brand has become too stale to be useful, and that we need to come up with some *new* special word that infuses new life into what it is that marketing does.
The word brand has started to loose it’s magic through overuse. Is
there another word that captures the same concepts? If so, what is it?
Is this really the face of marketing today? Is this the best we can do? Apparently, the way to solve marketing’s shortcomings is not to dig deep in order to understand how we are failing to provide real value and how we can improve; the solution is to just toss away the old paradigm and create something new and shiny. A new word will solve all our problems and make it all magical again.
*This* is exactly what I’ve been ranting about for the past few weeks. I am extending an invitation to John Winsor–and anyone at Corante–to dialog on this topic and explain their point of view. I’ll keep you posted on whether or not we can get something going to get to the bottom of this.
I should have mentioned in the post that Winsor was picking up the call for a new word for Brand from a William Safire column that makes the same case: "brand" is bland, let’s have something new. That doesn’t change my position–I could add to it by saying marketers probably shouldn’t be taking professional cues from William Safire–but the original column is relevant to the discussion.