Brand Babble: Sense and Nonsense About Branding / Edition 1

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Brand Babble: Sense and Nonsense about Branding is about both the "good news" and the "bad news" of branding. And, it's vitally important to the success of your business. As long-time branding authors, educators, and investigators, the Schultz's explode an array of myths that have been passing and passed on as "branding wisdom." They show that a brand will not rescue a flawed business concept, is not owned by one group or individual, nor does it depend on "media-by-the-ton" spending. The authors show how every successful brand is the sum of relationships between buyer and seller and explain how marketers best communicate with their customers through an integrated approach that reflects the nature of that relationship. Those approaches sets the stage for value-based branding that delivers the best value proposition to customers and increases the bottom-line, financial value of the brand to the organization and its owners and shareholders. That, today, is the "currency" of value-based branding. Getting to it is merely a matter of cutting through all the Brand Babble, all the nonsense about brands and branding that is posing as new marketing insight. This book will be the essential ingredient in more insightful, easier, and, most important, more profitable branding work for both your company and your customers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Don and Heidi have done it again. Here, they deploy all of their worldly wisdom and communication skills in making branding accessible. Practitioners and students will be grateful for their robust approach to a subject that needs to be understood by everyone in business.

Finally, a book that points out all of the gibberish being spouted about branding. The Schultzes are candid and insightful, but also entertaining, in clearing the air on this topic. Anyone involved in brand-building should read their book now—before investing another nickel on anything else about branding.

Another great book by Don & Heidi Schultz, which cuts through the 'brand babble' and gets straight to the point. Interesting, insightful and full of useful analogies. A goldmine of helpful information and a must for all marketers bookshelves.

Brand Babble is another Don Schultz straight-talking, no-nonsense piece that brilliantly cuts through advertising hype to reveal the common sense of branding. It's full of great examples and solid business propositions. It will ruffle a few feathers as it logically demonstrates that brands must have a meaningful value proposition. If you want to understand brand building, you have to read this book.

Don and Heidi have done a masterful job of cutting through all the clutter and noise to give us a thoughtful, pragmatic and user-friendly look at the branding world as it exists today and—more importantly—how it should look tomorrow.

Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Sense and Nonsense About Branding
The authors of Brand Babble, two marketing and branding gurus from Northwestern University, write that much of the current talk about brands and branding is merely nonsense posing as new marketing insight. To help companies break through the clutter and deliver the best value proposition to customers while increasing the financial value of a brand, the Schultzes offer a better way to brand.

The authors write that brands are built, maintained and succeed because of the integrated and aligned activities and inputs from the brand maker, as well as those the buyer brings to an encounter with the brand. In this integrated view, the combination of the manufacturer's and the consumer's input forms the basis for a successful brand. The authors explain that there is a need for integration and alignment of the brand across the marketplace by both buyer and seller.

Today, an integrated group of activities, efforts, products and channels, etc., make a brand a success. There is no single "ultimate secret" that makes the difference between a hit and a flop. To achieve marketplace success, the Schultzes write, a company must know the basics of consumer behavior, communication, marketing, sociology, information technology, graphics and design, accounting and finance, and all the other tools that must be used to create and build a brand presence.

Throughout Brand Babble, the authors challenge and often debunk many of the branding concepts that have been offered by modern marketers over the years. While questioning the theories and opinions of the experts, and knocking down many of their unproved hypotheses, the authors offer solid theories and scholarly work to back up their integrated approach to brands and branding.

The authors write that brand babble is the clutter and confusion that fills the marketplace posing as expert branding information, including all the "hocus-pocus models, diagrams, geometric shapes, and clever analogies to explain what most of us have trouble verbalizing." To break through the brand babble currently inundating the marketplace, the authors present a rational and business-like approach to the subject. Throughout Brand Babble, they explain how brands are used, how they can help organizations, how they can be understood as a company's intangible assets, and how companies can use them to make money. They write that a brand is simply a way for the brand owner to make money: an economic tool that provides value for its owner and buyer.

'It's What You Get Back'
The Schultzes point out that brands should not cost money. Brands should make money. They write, "It's not how much you spend on a brand; it's what you get back that really counts." They explain that the reason a firm owns a brand is to generate future income flows.

To debunk the theory that a company must spend big advertising bucks to build a brand, the authors point to several successful companies that did not invest heavily in traditional media advertising. These include The Body Shop, Starbucks, L.L. Bean and even Dell computer.

The authors also dig into the underlying truth of brands and offer pointed advice about what makes them valuable. They explain that brands, "in all their intangible glory in the marketplace, really represent relationships. They connect the organization to the customer and vice versa." While offering advice about the value of brand marketing, communication and positioning, as well as brand tracking and budgeting, the authors present informative details that can help any organization get more from a brand.

Why We Like This Book
A brand is an elusive concept to pin down, but Brand Babble breaks through the fads and cliches to reveal useful truths that can be learned from the successes and mistakes of past and present brands. By casting light into the shadows of branding hype and revealing the hidden aspects of branding that create value and profits, the Shultzes ask the right questions and offer sound expertise to turn the babble into meaningful lessons. Copyright © 2004 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780538727143
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning
  • Publication date: 12/19/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 156
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.42 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Don E. Schultz is Professor Emeritus of Integrated Marketing Communications at the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, Visiting Professor, Cranfield School of Management, Bedfordshire, UK, Adjunct Professor as Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia, and President of Agora Inc., based in Evanston, IL. He has consulted, lectured and held seminars on integrated marketing communications, marketing and branding in Europe, South America, Asia/Pacific, the Middle East, Australia and North America. His articles have appeared in Advertising Age, Journal of Advertising Research, Marketing Communications, Journal of Business Strategy, and Marketing News. He is author/co-author of 11 books, including Strategic Brand Campaigns, Sales Promotion Management, Measuring Brand Communication ROI, Communicating Globally, and Integrated Marketing Communications, which was the first book in this emerging field.

Heidi F. Schultz is Executive Vice-President of Agora, Inc., a marketing and branding consulting firm based in Evanston, IL, and a lecturer in Northwestern University's Department of Integrated Marketing Communications. She is a frequent speaker on integrated marketing and brand communications and conducts training sessions for corporations, marketing service providers and media organizations. She has served as subject matter expert on four seminal benchmarking studies by the American Productivity and Quality Center and has authored articles that appeared in Advertising Age, Marketing Management, and the Journal of Marketing Communications.

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Table of Contents

1. What is a Brand? 2. Who Owns the Brand? 3. Separating Hula Hoops from Viable Brands. 4. Dogs, Pigeons, Focus Groups, and Other Exotic Brand Research Techniques. 5. Mental Models, S-Curves, and Multi-tasking. 6. Reification, Abstractionism, Tribal Dances and Other Mumbo-Jumbo about Brands and Branding. 7. Avoiding the Mental Model Minefields. 8. Magic Words, Mystic Signs, an Other Incomprehensible Incantations. 9. Going Global. 10. Birth Pains and Stretch Marks. 11. Media Planning and Buying- An Arcane Science? 12. Why Branding Doesnt Take a Ton of Media Spending. 13. Brand Tracking in the Himalayas: Nice to Know, But Not Very Useful as a Brand Measure. 14. Searching for Brand Equity in All the Right Places. 15. Future Babble. Index.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2006

    Common sense in a confusing industry

    Real branding happens when buyers and sellers exchange value, not just when customers are exposed to advertising. This is the notion that is at the heart of this book. Your organization's people deliver the brand experience. All your employees are, in effect, marketers. And yet, the industry model for branding is based almost entirely on image and customer attitudes, rather than relationships with the customers. This, the author's explain is all a bunch of 'brand babble.' Your research needs to come from customer behavior and interaction with your company, not just their attitudes and spurious predictions about their future behavior. Sales and customers make a brand successful, not strategic maneuvering against competitors. Branding is expensive, so don't waste resources branding products and services unless they're worth it. This book is a bit of fresh air. It could have been organized better, but the ideas here are worth the little digging you'll have to do through the text.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2004


    Marketing consultants Don and Heidi Schultz present a plain-language deconstruction of branding jargon in this guide for executives who want to understand branding and build brands. The book's strength is its simplicity and clarity. At times, however, it reads like a series of articles that once were published separately, so that certain essential information is restated ¿ often in virtually identical language. However, we find that the information in the book is valuable, as is the authors' thoughtful approach to branding. Their book merits a read by marketers and corporate decision makers.

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