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Brand Failures

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Brand Failures

The Truth About the 100 Biggest Branding Mistakes of All Time

Kogan Page,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

If you learn more from failure than success, here`s how to become a branding expert: study 100 flops. Want a New Coke?

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
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Branding is a ubiquitous, but critical marketing function that can produce spectacular successes and catastrophic blunders. Highly visible branding failures, such as the ill-fated "New Coke" or Harley Davidson's silly attempt to peddle perfume, are first-order marketing blunders. Yet, while branding is critical, one wonders if branding alone, as author Matt Haig asserts, is the main reason Land Rover sales declined and General Motors stopped making Oldsmobiles. Other experts might address such failures from a more expansive perspective, citing financial, competitive, managerial, global and environmental factors. Haig notes that non-branding mistakes contribute to failure, but focuses on branding as the prime cause. As a result, his brand-centered explanations can seem strained, but he overcomes this concern with a long list of vignettes that effectively drive home important points about the causes of branding failures. getAbstract suggests this book to marketing, advertising, PR and customer service managers so they can learn from other people's mistakes.


Marketing Hubris

Branding, the process of putting a human face on otherwise faceless products and corporations, is a central marketing goal. Brands are built through advertising and sales, which propel company values and increase market share and margins, which in turn build barriers to competition. The flip side of branding, however, is marketing hubris, which impels marketers to rely on false assumptions and myths under the mistaken hope that all brands live forever and are immune from competition. Too often, an examination of brand failures shows that major products, managed by both global and national corporations, died at the hands of their own marketing departments.

Today, when products fail, consumers often blame the brand (that is, the entire corporation), as opposed to the product itself. This reflects a change in consumer behavior. Since brands pre-sell products by invoking certain emotions in consumers' hearts, negative or positive product experiences can generate disproportionate emotional responses. This helps explain why branding can be such a powerful tool. Brands fail for a number of reasons, including:

  • Brand amnesia – Brands...

About the Author

Matt Haig is an independent consultant who advises corporations on branding and marketing. He is the author of Mobile Marketing: The Message Revolution. He also wrote E-PR: The Essential Guide to Public Relations on the Internet, E-Business Essentials, E-Mail Essentials, The E-Marketing Handbook, The B2B E-Commerce Handbook and If You're So Brilliant, How Come You Don't Have An E-Strategy?

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