Should companies or products lead brand strategy?

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No doubt you’re familiar with the adage of the chicken or the egg. However, I bet you’ve never heard this sentiment applied to brand strategy. Case in point:

If we equate the chicken to a branded company and the egg to an innovative product from an unknown company, which takes the lead when it comes to brand strategy?

In the article “Brands and the Ability to Devastatingly Disrupt,” author Mark Di Somma talks about the value of a well-branded company:

“Innovation for an ill-positioned company will simply not deliver what’s expected in the vast majority of cases because there is no market affinity – and without market affinity, without the goodwill of consumers wanting to see a brand succeed, chances are the innovation, no matter how brilliant, has a greater likelihood of being lost in the crowd or simply failing to gain traction.”

Di Somma continues by saying iconic companies like Apple and Microsoft have associated brand identities that affect our mindset and, therefore, our readiness and willingness to accept their (new) products.

Yet, what if an unknown company brought an innovative product to market that rocked our consumer world? How would it be received? Valued? Trusted?

Enter Shark Tank

Do companies or products lead brand strategy?

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On this television program, new-to-market artisans, craftsmen, product developers and innovators pitch their good work and ideas to well-positioned financial backers. No doubt, the money women, and men do influence the respective product rise to brand stardom.

TOMS – helping a person in need

Do companies or products lead brand strategy?

TOMS? The shoes made the way for the company brand, however, there was – and remains – a beyond cool give-back philosophy tied to the business plan and the brand.

Cable programming? I’m thinking mini-product launches via “The Walking Dead“, “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men” as elevating the mother brand, AMC. Ditto for FX and “Sons of Anarchy“, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “American Horror Story.

Here’s a list of twenty-five products that built their respective company brand. I highlight Corn Flakes, Gatorade, Maybelline, Popsicle, Play-Doh and Wheaties as products that either found success before the company brand or in some cases, they actually became the company brand.

What can I say? I’m an egg gurl, I guess.

[Tweet “Brand strategy is led by innovators of the next greatest thing-they make the brand world go ’round.”]

Not that there’s a right or a wrong.

I respect company brands who consistently deliver on their promise to build engagement and sales. This equates to longevity. On the opposite end, I equally respect new companies on the cusp of unrecognized imagination.

Your turn.

As a consumer, what works for you? Are you a devoted loyalist to a company brand with consistent buy-in for the product portfolio or do you align your purchasing power with innovative products that in turn, foster company brand loyalty?

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