Are we failing to make brands that stand the test of time by a focus on short-term success?

Has the desire for success eroded investment in the core brand?

Secret Marketer

This week I have been exposed to a fantastic array of musical culture. I went to see the David Bowie exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, which has to be one of the best museum displays of the life and times of a living person, as well as Rihanna at Twickenham Stadium. Both were sell-outs, witnessed by thousands of people, all of whom must have left elated and satisfied, yet the lasting impact of the two could not be more different. 

What struck me most about the Bowie exhibition was how it chronicled various artistic movements over the past 40 years that changed the world and how the exponents of such cultures would up sticks to be part of it – very much like the painters, sculptors and writers of the Renaissance. Compare that to the likes of Rihanna and most bands today, talented though they are. Are they a culture? Do people flock to create that culture together? And will anyone remember them in 10 years’ time?

Longevity is the theme of this week, as I also read several articles about the plight of Facebook and whether it is following in the footsteps of MySpace, Boo and others, which in their day were likewise proclaimed as the new messiah. Many of the brands that have evolved in the past 10 years have blazed across the sky only to disappear as fast as they arrived. What is the likelihood that our children will follow our lead and become their loyal customers of tomorrow in the same way our parents introduced us to Fairy Liquid, Heinz Baked Beans and even WH Smith and Thomas Cook? Are brands now as disposable as the products they develop?

Or is it our fault as marketers? Have we forgotten the principles of brand building? Has the desire for success today at any cost and let tomorrow go hang – an attitude in part due to the short life expectancy of CMOs – eroded investment in the core substance of brands that will last the test of time? And have we let the dominance of price in the ‘four Ps’ – backed by our development of such things as price comparison brands and cheap foreign copies – eroded the very essence of brand forever?

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here