When Brand Equity Doesn’t Travel.


Bob Gilbreath’s book Marketing With Meaning is an important read for all marketing strategists and executives. Without “meaning” in marketing deliverables we are simply singing. Not that good songs don’t sometimes work, they do; but a meaningful selling premise motivates.

Meaning is an imperative for brand planners, when creating an organizing principle for a brand. Finding a pent up demand consumers desire – one that your product can fulfill —  is hard enough.  Landing on a desire that extends across buying targets is some seriously heavy lifting.  This is a problem for most brand marketers.  

As one’s planning audience grows in size and complexity, the focus of the desire has to lessen. And the meaning delivered even more so. 

This is why many brand extensions fail. A company that has meaning with one target and adds a new one, often finds out the brand equity doesn’t travel.  I once blamed Google for its “culture of technological obesity.”  It was eating everything in its way, independent of its palette.  Marketers need to know what businesses not to get in to.  He happy with your meaning.  Unfortunately, it’s that money thing, that stockholder thing that turns us crazy. So we expand, lose focus and add fish to the burger menu. 

Let’s be happy with success marketers. Don’t hedge your bets by adding more targets; get better at what you do. Protect your meaning. Peace!