What Makes a Brand Strong: Consistency and the Ability to Deliver on Brand Promise

I was excited to see the annual Interbrand Top 100 brand results released today.   Almost as excited as Naven R. Johnson was about the release of the yellow pages in The Jerk.*

I’m always curious about what brands showed up on top and also curious to see the impact that both positive and negative PR issues had on brands over the course of the year. A few of my burning questions, that the results answer, were:

  • How did the Toyota recall affect Toyota’s brand?
  • How did the iPad affect Apple’s brand?
  • How did financial institutions fare?

The list is also instructive, I think, for those of us who become tired of our brands – or who work for companies who become tired of their brands and want a “new look.” Now, those in the communication industry know that the brand is not the logo (but try convincing business leaders who aren’t communication professionals of that). We also know that while we may become tired of our messaging, our campaigns and our “look,” consumers probably do not.

There’s an apocryphal story about one company whose leadership grew tired of their campaign and said it was time for a new one when the campaign had not yet actually been released to the public. Whether this is true or not, there is a tendency for companies to make changes too quickly rather than relying on the use of a strong, consistent and valid message that resonates with consumers.

Interbrand’s annual survey results always verify this for me. The top brands don’t tend to change much over time. The top brands’ messages also don’t change much over time. I believe there is some positive correlation going on here.

Take a look at the list – any surprises? Any insights? Share your thoughts here!

*This was a 1979 movie, so I’m woefully aware that for those of you born any time after 1970 this analogy may absolutely not work – see Beloit College’s Mindset List – an annual compilation of the values that shape the worldview (or “mindset”) of students who are about 18 years old and entering college.

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