An advertising and marketing veteran demonstrates that the keys to a successful consumer brand may be simple but making them work isn’t easy.
McGhie’s take on brand development and positioning is based on his three decades at Ogilvy & Mather, Sterling Brands and other leading consumer marketers (from the start of the book, he begs marketers to stop using “brand” as a verb). By McGhie’s definition, a company’s brand isn’t an outcome the company can wholly control; rather, it’s the public’s response to the product and experience the company offers. The book encourages marketers to focus their efforts on the aspects of the product and experience within their control, which McGhie calls “positioning.” With a focus more on concepts and strategy than implementation and tactics, the book draws on examples from the author’s own successes and failures, along with well-known brand histories. Apple is the object of copious praise—readers will be left with no questions about what McGhie thinks of his Kindle Fire in comparison to Apple products—as are Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, Nike’s unabashed embrace of the competitive spirit, and Google’s global vision. Sears, Jaguar and TiVo make frequent appearances as examples of positioning efforts gone wrong. Among McGhie’s key themes, which appear in different contexts throughout the book, are the importance of understanding what customers do (as opposed to what they say) and the necessity of ensuring that the product is prepared to deliver everything its messaging promises. While these lessons will be familiar to students and practitioners of marketing, McGhie’s style—especially his evident antipathy toward marketing jargon—and his obvious passion for the business make the book an engaging read that may well spark some refreshing corner-office epiphanies. An end-of-the-book restatement of each chapter’s major points is useful as a quick reference.
An informative read from an author with plenty of practical experience.