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August 9, 2010#

Too Much Marketing

Ad Age this morning posed the question whether company brands might be better served by investing more in product quality and less in marketing communication. 

The article poses this question in light of the recent troubles at BP, Toyota and J&J.  

Here’s the short answer.  Yes. 

Andy Rooney said this once on 60 minutes:  “What we need today is less marketing and more quality.”

We couldn’t agree more.  All professional marketers should heed the pity wisdom of those simple words.  As we said in our book Why Johnny Can’t Brand:

“Make genuine performance, service, trustworthiness, fair dealings, helpful innovation, and improving the live of every customer the soul of your brand.  Make your vision nothing more than to be the very best you can be at what you do.  Make your mission to do it the right way always.

BP, Toyota and J&J all built their reputations on superior product and service performance.  In other words, their brand images have less to do with advertising and more to do with customer experience of their products.  Toyota built its brand image of reliability by building reliable cars.  J&J built its brand image of uncompromised trust by bending over backwards to be trustworthy, even if that meant losing money as with the Tylenol recall years ago.  

In the world of branding, action is character.  What a brand does is much more important than what it says.  Just like people, we judge people by what they do, not what they say they’re going to do.