Successful brands talk with the people

I read with interest Ian McCawley’s excellent review of Millward Brown’s Top 100 UK brands, as rated by “voltage” (MW last week).

It was refreshing to see a survey taking such an unusual approach – all too often the behemoth brands like McDonalds and Microsoft come out on top of brand value tables simply by dint of their size.

The number of smaller brands occupying places high in the table may have come as a surprise to some observers. After all many marketers still believe that big is best and take the view that consumers will follow the herd when it comes to making purchase decisions; “beware of the dangers of treading a path less well trodden” they say.

But, the fact that smaller brands like Café Direct and Tresemmé appear in the top ten shows that consumers very definitely do not always follow the herd and are perfectly capable of making their own minds up.

In fact, it is worth remembering that marketers need to attract consumers as individuals, by finding out what they want, and then setting about delivering that. This is one thing that small companies are adept at – they know their customers, and they are important to them.

Another issue raised by the survey is that of media fragmentation. In a world where consumers have ever more control over their media, it is they who decide which messages they want to hear, and from which brands.

The challenge for brands, big and small, is to open the ears and eyes of potential and existing customers. Those that can persuade people to listen, and in return listen themselves, are the brands that have real voltage.

Elliott Sefton

Brand consultant

London SW17

mw.editorial@centaur.co.uk include your home/business address

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