Opinions about branding by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Branding as a Predictive Investment Tool

I can tell you right now that the new Sarah Jessica Parker film will flop. It is out of line with her brand - everybody's bright, klutzy, fashion-obsessed, perpetually romantic yet commitment-phobic best friend.

Same goes for the "Kardashian Kollection" at Sears. KK (uncomfortably close to the hate brand) is uninspired trash, only interesting because of the reality show brand and the reality that none of them would set foot in Sears without a massive payoff.

Meanwhile, Sears is about appliances. Its heritage is good old Americana. There is no reason to buy anything resembling clothing at this store unless you are on your way to pick up a washer-dryer.

You don't need a crystal ball to tell you these gazillion-dollar deals are worthless or worse (negative to brand equity.) All you need is a basic understanding of the concept: Add value to a commodity by creating the perception of superiority, in a very specific way.

Predictive brand analysis can be done in lots of ways. But the most basic, important and free is to use your brain objectively. If you are known to be an alcoholic, don't promote vodka!

Here are just a few random brand-based predictions for success/failure right now:

1. Ann Taylor feat. Demi Moore - fail. Demi Moore doesn't dress like that in real life...she is a cougar. Should have gone with Kate Winslet - classy clothes for intelligent women.

2. Kia Soul feat. the 3 rats - success. The brand, the image, the music, the price and the target market match perfectly.

3. CW's "Ringer" feat. Sarah Michelle Gellar - fail. Sarah is not Buffy the Vampire Slayer anymore. The mood now is Snooki. (Abercrombie & Fitch bet wrong on The Situation too.)

4. Merrell shoes - feat. In "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" - success. The mood of the moment now is low-key, rugged survival. They've got it.

5. Two and a Half Men - minus Charlie Sheen - fail. Not gonna happen. To my mind, that show was literally about Charlie Sheen, not even an invented persona, but the actual person and his inner demons.

If you get used to thinking about companies, projects, products and people from the perspective of brand, it is not only easier to make decisions, but you can actually predict how things will shake out down the road.

Maybe not immediately, but eventually you will see that the brand wins out.

Try it and post a comment about what happens.

Have a good evening everyone, and good luck!