Every brand should aspire to be a legend

What is it that makes Marks & Spencer a legend and Tesco a myth? The difference is in the disparity or parity between what a brand claims and what it actually delivers, which means every brand should aspire to be a legend delivering on its promises.


In Marketing Week’s trend analysis this week, we looked at Lippincott’s annual Brandview study into how different brands have managed to create consistency between what they promise, and what consumers actually get. Pick up this week’s Marketing Week or check online later today to read the full feature.

It is a marketer’s job to raise perceptions of a brand, make it desirable and effectively communicate what a business can do. But, if in reality, the experience consumers get when they actually engage with that brand doesn’t match it – what’s the point?

No marketing team should be happy with being a myth. It means the business is failing to connect marketing to the rest of the business, and in doing so is damaging its brand.

Marketing Week has frequently raised the debate about the need for marketing to be better integrated with other divisions to create a successful business, be it strategic direction, finance, PR or new product development. This research adds further weight to the debate.

If marketers don’t talk to the product teams, the business leaders or people on the ground, how will they develop a strategy that reflects both what the business delivers and what it aspires to?

There is an obvious challenge in creating a consistent experience for customers across vast estates and touch points such as those of the supermarkets, but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible.

By investing in the quality of its food and clothing, improving its stores at the same time as investing in heavyweight marketing and advertising, M&S has delivered on its brand promises and achieved legend status, according to the research.

Meanwhile, Tesco’s recent struggles in the UK have seen it slip from a legend in 2010 to a myth, showing that it hasn’t lived up to its promises. Tesco is currently addressing this and will soon reveal a new advertising agency and overhauled marketing communications – all its marketing teams should be working to return the brand to its legendary status.

In this age of social media omnipotence, it’s a lot easier for consumers to burst the bubble of a legendary brand and be vocal about the disparity between what they were promised in marketing, and what they actually got.

But rather than something to shy away from, this openness can be a way for brands currently struggling to match brand experience with brand promises to see exactly where they fall down, and learn from it.