Mario Sundar's Speakeasy

Spero Ventures. Early LinkedIn, Twitter. These are my thoughts on tech, brand, marketing and community.

Branding Redux | 3 New Rules

The title is kind of misleading. Branding never dissappeared to find itself in the middle of a resurgence right now, but the rules of branding keep evolving and adapting to the needs of a generation. I happened to recently read an article in the Chief Marketer on Simon Williams’ (Sterling Brands) The 10 New Rules of Branding. Here are the three rules that I totally agree with:

1) A brand with no point of view has no point; full-flavor branding is in, vanilla is out.

This idea is similar to a recent Marketing Profs article by our very own Mike Wagner, titled “Hate my Brand, Please“. Mike was calling upon the same principle of defining your brand via your identity and what you stand for. Some of the examples of “polarizing brand identity” as I would like to call it has also spilled onto movies and politics.

In movies, two of the biggest money earners in 2004 happened to be “Passion of the Christ” and “Farenheit 911“. Movies catering to the opposite ends of the political spectrum, yet succesfully and subjectively preaching to the choir. Politically, the same year, take the example of the two opposing candidates: George W. Bush & John Kerry. Irrespective of your political affiliations, there is reason to believe that George W. Bush is a much more effective brand because everyone knew exactly what he stood for. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of Kerry, which I personally believe was the primary cause of his undoing in the 2004 elections .

2) Today’s consumer is leading from the front; this is the smartest generation to have ever walked the planet.

I believe we are probably as smart as our preceding generations, but one thing’s for sure — we’ve been enabled with superior technology that helps us make smarter choices. For ex. think about our car purchases. Long gone are the days when we were subject to the whimsical and sinister ways of the car salesman! Nowadays, we have the support of the KBB, Craigslist,, and a million other myriad websites that help you make the right choice.

Even car manufacturers are slowly but surely learning their lesson with haggle-free car sale. Take for ex. Scion (from Toyota) and of course Saturn that pioneered the process. I for one, purchased a Scion tc without negotiating the price and I’m more than glad with the Experience. Isn’t this what being a brand ambassador is all about?

3) Customize wherever and whenever you can; customization is tomorrow’s killer whale.

Customization is not tomorrow’s killer whale because it’s today’s killer whale. Clear your mind and think about the ugly designs on MySpace or the butt-ugly Crocs, or the wierd looking Nikes, or the Box Scion or the personalized Jessica Simpson tunes! Today’s customer wants to be pampered and is getting it. Technology is helping make that easier and things are going to get crazier as we further spill into the 2010s. Welcome to the Minority Report!

Feel free to disagree. Send me your thoughts or just comment below…

Filed under: Miscellaneous

2 Responses

  1. Mario, thanks for the link and the insightful posting.

    Your illustration of George W. Bush is a good one that I often contrast with his father who did not establish a strong “love me or hate me” brand identity.

    Thanks for enlarging the conversation – the world is a changin’

    Keep creating,


  2. Mario Sundar says:

    Hi Mike,

    You bring up an important attribute of branding – how to define and brand oneself.

    I’ll watch out for similar articles on your blog.


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