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by Matt Haig
Kogan Page © 2004, 314 pages, $35.00 (ISBN 0-7494-4257-3).
How the World’s Top 100 Brands Thrive and Survive
Some say that brand success equals business success, and since there is no single magic formula for creating a winning brand, studying the best brands can provide many winning strategies for those looking for a better way to brand. Branding expert Matt Haig, the author of the acclaimed Brand Failures, has studied the longevity, technological advancements, new product developments, workplaces, mass communications, achievements and financial success of hundreds of brands to determine the best of the bunch. The result of his research is Brand Royalty, a book that provides a list of 100 brand success stories, helpful commentary about them from brand managers and experts from a variety of fields, and the secrets behind their worldwide recognition as great brands.
Haig starts Brand Royalty by pointing out that brands are successful not because they “conform to a neat little set of laws that apply to all brands but because they follow their own individual path with confidence.” He explains that great brands are successful because they have a clear vision, even if that vision is different for every one of them.
Faith and ‘The Real Thing’
Next, although he is not the first, Haig points out the similarities between religion and the brand. His list of commonalities includes issues such as faith, omnipresence, gurus, goodness, icons and other terms that both fields embrace. His point can be easily seen when observing Budweiser’s iconic “True” slogan, or even Coke’s claim to be “the real thing.”
Haig describes the criteria that went into his selections as well as the reasoning behind each of his choices. He also explains that branding is the most important aspect of business because the brand itself will dictate whether it succeeds or fails.
Brand Royalty is divided into 17 types of brands, including: innovation brands, e.g. Adidas, Sony, Hoover and Xerox; pioneer brands, e.g. Heinz, Kellogg’s, Colgate and Ford; distraction brands, e.g. MTV, Harry Potter and Barbie; and muscle brands, e.g. IBM, Wal-Mart and McDonald’s. In each section, he describes what he means by the classification and then digs into the brands that epitomize the concept. After he has summed up the background and importance of a brand, he lists the secrets of success that highlight the brand’s key differentiating factors, such as innovation, performance, research, ambition and value added. Then, Haig provides a “fact file” that lists the brand’s Web site, when and where it was founded, and several pertinent facts that make the brand stand out among others.
Devoted Work Force
Haig categorizes Heinz as the “trust” brand, and describes the people behind the global powerhouse, both in the executive suite and on the factory floor. While recounting the founder’s global vision from the outset and the family’s ambitious focus on product quality and the welfare of the company’s devoted work force, Haig explains that Heinz was also the largest global brand not to be mentioned by Naomi Klein in No Logo, her scathing attack on the inhuman aspects of globalization.
When telling the story behind the story of the Harry Potter brand, which includes movie deals, book burnings, a lawsuit for plagiarism and Joanne Rowling’s single motherhood, Haig compares the brand with Harley-Davidson and other brands that create a legend that people want to buy into. He also relates an important part of the branding equation: “By buying a motorcycle or visiting Disneyland or reading J.K. Rowling, consumers aren’t just making a choice based on the cheapest price or convenience. They are buying into a story and — in doing so — becoming part of the brand story itself.” ~
Why We Like ThIS Book
Matt Haig’s journalistic eye for striking facts and captivating details make Brand Royalty an informative and entertaining book that turns the business of branding into an exciting place where new ideas are explored. The differences among the many brands he describes provide a thought-provoking foundation from which any growing brand can learn more about where it can go next. ~