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Publishing brands – survival of the fittest or death to the unfit?

March 16, 2011
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The Branded Mind - how fit is your brand to match customer expectation?

In his new book, The Branded Mind (Kogan Page, 2011), Erik Du Plessis talks about brands from the point of view of “survival of the fittest” or “death to the unfit”. Good call, as they say on the popular advertisement for Foster’s Lager. What makes a “fit” brand in publishing?

Brands are emotionally defined by credibility gained over time. As The Mighty Terror, famed Trinidadian calypsonian, argued in the 1950s hit “Calypso War“: If they’re “not Trinidadian, they’re not calysponian, here in Great Britain.” Jamaican stars, he argued, could never sing extemporaniously and therefore their stance as calypso singers was bogus.

So it is with publishing companies who attempt to survive on bogus grounds: sham marketing positions not based in service delivery and demonstrable truth.

Whether it is curve-following useless apps of limited value, websites with out-of-stock signs or whether it is disfunctional customer service and long delivery times, the truth of brand failure is in experience. Get it wrong and your brand ebbs away as its relevance drips into the gutter of forgotten times.

US blog, Brand Strategy Insider recently listed ten qualities of world-class brands. Just because they’re world class, doesn’t make them irrelevant to publishers. Far from it. Well-known, relevant, differentiated, customer-centric, trustworthy, innovative, likeable, accessible, popular and valuable – all these are seen as key characteristics of brand success.

So, in answering whether a publishing brand is fit or unfit, whether it is Trinidadian or Jamaican, you could do a lot worse than position yourself next to these “top ten” attributes. The fittest survive only if they keep themselves fit.

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