and Sustaining Brands
At the same time as this book was launched another one on brands entered the market-place. Kogan Page published “[Re]inventing the brand : can top brands survive the new market realities?”. The author was Jean-Noël Kapferer, who is actually cited by Chertanony (pg 58). One review of Kapferer’s book (Research Magazine, Sept 2001 pg58) said “Kapferer’s vision seems to imply that research is an essential tool in taking brands forward”.
It is therefore interesting to explore Chernatony’s book to identify the role of marketing research in “building brands”. A quick glance through the book does not reveal any substantial reference to marketing research. This is a puzzle because Chernatony is no stranger to both pure and applied research. His career path has taken him from Cranfield, to the Open University, to Birmingham Business School and at each of these his published research has been considerable. He is a one-man-factory of research articles. Additionally he has had a long association with the Market Research Society. I recall a paper he produced for the Industrial Marketing Research Association back in 1989 which was a useful overall guide to research techniques.
So has Leslie turned his back on marketing research? Has he been distracted into suggesting branding solutions based on his vast experience in the field? The quick answer is no, but research is integrated into the entire book rather than described in neat chapters or sections. It is evident in many different guises : a checklist for MR (pgs53-57), ServQual (pg264), segmentation (p250), laddering (pgs105, 133, 206). But it could be argued that for a complex subject – which branding is – research doesn’t fit into a nice box. The formula: -(1) Do market research; (2) Get info; (3) Make a decision - may be too mechanistic in the world of branding.
The message of the book is in the title. The book explains how to build brands that are strong and will continue to be strong. To illustrate the points being made there is mention of plenty of well-known brand names. We find Virgin, Wal-Mart, Walt Disney, Xerox, Nike, Land Rover, McDonalds and Yahoo. It is a mix of an academic text and a handbook for businessmen. The ten chapters, with some 200 references, each have ‘activities’ to help the academic reader to reflect on content. There are action checklists to motivate the reader from the industry, to take action.
Published in the Journal of the Market Research Society 44(2) 2002 p245.
Review copyright 2002 by Nigel Bradley.
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