What is a Brand? Part 2
Posted by Giles Lury on September 16, 2010
Comment on this article
Having started last week with the dictionary definition of a brand, this week’s offering comes from the realms of history (or at least the realms of history as re-told by a modern marketer).
Sir Michael Perry (when chairman of Unilever) gave a speech to the Advertising Association of Great Britain and covered amongst other things the evolution of one of the greats of early brand names – Sunlight Soap.
“When William Hesketh Lever first packaged up his Sunlight soap, he had a clear sense of what he was offering to Lancashire housewives. It was a reassuring guarantee of predictability and consistency. It wasn’t possible for the housewife to get the equivalent guarantee elsewhere.
Certainly not when she purchased a lump of soap which had been of a block of unknown origin and uncertain quality in a grocer’s store”.
The birth of a great brand and the birth of an enduring definition of a brand – a brand is a guarantee of quality and consistency.
And today brands are still a guarantee of quality but unfortunately that guarantee isn’t quite as valuable as it used to be.
That’s due to three main factors –
- Retailers have become brands in their own right (and very good ones too) offering their guarantees of quality
- Quality is in the eye of the beholder (which is connected to the third point…)
- I haven’t ever met a brand manger who does think he has a quality brand
While brands are still guarantees of quality it’s no longer enough to say quality – you have to say what type of quality you are guaranteeing.