“Chrysler looks beyond BBDO for advertising” is the headline on Ad Age Digital this morning. BBDO has always done great work for Jeep, but Jeep was an iconic brand with a branding idea. The Chrysler brand doesn’t really have an idea. Ford doesn’t have a powerful branding idea. And certainly GM doesn’t. But GM doesn’t really need one because short of GMC trucks, you won’t find a car with a GM name on it. Volkswagen had an idea but let it slip away to the point where when the market was ready for the idea (small, efficient, eco-conscious), they weren’t there. Had they been, they might now be on their way to a defensible position as the world’s largest car company. Even Hummer has an idea.
When you possess a branding idea — also called a brand strategy — product design and innovation become easy. When you don’t, you change vendors, partners, ad agencies, and management. And that’s not much of an idea. Peace!