Marketing The Futureof Brands,A Chapterfrom Brandsand Branding
The Future of Brands
A Chapter from Brands and Branding
An Economist Book
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The Future of Brands 1
Rita Clifton, The future of brands is inextricably linked to • Most of the world’s greatest brands today are
the future of business. In fact, the future of brands American owned, largely because of America’s
Interbrand is the future of business if it is to be about sustain- free political, commercial and social systems.
able wealth creation. Further, because of the But the knowledge and practice of what creates
interaction of brands with society, and since so many great brands can be (and is now being) applied
socially influential brands are in the not-for-profit around the world.
sector, the future of brands is also inextricably
linked to the future of society. • Every brand, if it is to be successful, needs a clear
positioning, expressed through name, identity
This chapter examines some future trends and and all aspects of products, services and behavior.
predictions, both in business and in broader soci- For corporate effectiveness and efficiency,
ety, and looks at how brands may affect and be the brand and its positioning should be used as
affected by those changes. It also explores the a clear managing framework for portfolio
categories and countries that seem likely to yield management and business unit relationships.
some of the world’s greatest brands in the future,
and makes observations on what brands of all • Increasingly, brands require a distinctive customer
kinds will need to do to be successful. experience in the round. Indeed, increasingly
a brand is that experience, not least through
But first, it may be useful to recap the main themes the behavior of its people. The brand should be the
and arguments outlined in previous chapters: central organizing principle for everyone and
Every brand needs then everything.
a strong creative idea • Branding has been in existence for hundreds of
to bring it to life through years and has developed into a modern concept • Every brand needs a strong creative idea to
visual and verbal that can be applied to anything from products bring it to life through visual and verbal identity.
identity. This creative and services to companies, not-for-profit concerns This creative process needs not only innovation
process needs not only and even countries. and imagination, but also the courage and
innovation and conviction to carry it through.
imagination, but also • Well-managed brands have extraordinary eco-
the courage and nomic value and are the most effective and • The strongest brand communications may work
conviction to carry efficient creators of sustainable wealth. Under- at the levels of information, fame creation and by
it through. standing the value of a brand, and how to create creating (often unconscious) associations.
more value, is essential management information. Those elements that are harder to measure and
justify are no less important; in fact, they are
• Brands can also have a critical social importance often the most important elements.
and benefit in both developed and developing
countries. This applies as much to commercial • Public relations for brands will succeed only if they
brands as not-for-profit organizations. are based on the brand promise and the internal
reality of the company. People have become
increasingly sceptical, and in a 24-hour news
culture, organisations have nowhere to hide,
either inside or outside.
The Future of Brands 2
• If a company is going to invest in a brand long- Whether it is ironic or not, Western consumers’
term, it must give its identifiable distinctive constant search for novelty and authenticity may
features adequate legal protection, and it must also help ensure that the newer economies have
enforce that protection vigorously, increasingly an interested audience for their propositions.
on a global basis.
But before reflecting on whether and how the main
• Leading global brands can, and should, help the themes of this book may be carried forward in the
wider public understand the benefits of global- future – and before speculating on the provenance
Brands need better ization and free trade. But they can do this only if of the world’s most successful brands of the future
and socially broader they open up, behave well and collectively educate it is worth considering the broader future context.
measures of success. about their benefits. They must also ensure they
Corporate social continue to innovate. The future thing
responsibility should The future certainly isn’t what it used to be,
be about genuinely • Brands need better and socially broader mea- but nevertheless a recent article by Martin Rees,
solving problems, sures of success. Corporate social responsibility the Astronomer Royal, made rather depressing
reading.2 The opening line was:
not just about brand should be about genuinely solving problems,
reputation management. not just about brand reputation management.
“I think that the odds are no better than 50-50 that
our present civilization on earth will survive to the
• Asia shows every sign of becoming a global
end of the century.”
brand generator, not only in terms of cost advan-
tage in manufactured product brands, but also
because of its heritage in areas such as person- He puts this down to the potential for maverick
alized services and holistic health. misuse of science and / or weapons of mass
destruction. In the meantime, of course, there is
• In a globalized world, nations need to compete always the possibility of super-volcanoes or
with each other for the world’s attention and asteroid hits.
wealth. Active and conscious nation branding
can help them do this, and at its best, it can be At the other extreme, Watts Wacker, an American
argued, it presents an opportunity to redistribute futurist, made it part of his working philosophy to
the world’s wealth more fairly in the future. encourage organizations to develop “500-year”
plans. This was meant to be symbolic rather than
If the last theme in particular makes anyone baulk, literal, but does rather stretch the point.
it is worth remembering the importance that China
is attaching to growing its branded commodities Steering a slightly less radical course either way,
as its way forward in the world and “so as to bene- it was interesting to consider a range of predictions
fit the world’s people”1. While many Western for the year 2025, drawn from various think tanks
and futurists.3 These included market wars over ice
nations are fashionably wringing their hands about
the nature of capitalism, and about brands as their on the moon; widespread designer babies; a truly
highest profile manifestation, developing nations pregnant man; a derelict Silicon Valley, overtaken
are coming to see branded businesses, and indeed by technologies such as quantum, optical and DNA
their own images, as their opportunity for develop- computers; and one that would bring Rees’s
ment and more stable wealth and economic control. doomsday scenario rather closer – widespread
The Future of Brands 3
You only have to look at a random selection of sci-fi To do this, they will have to continue to innovate
films and futurology books to understand the and, critically, to deepen and extend their brand
dangers of publishing-specific predictions. Even as relationships with customers well beyond the level
recently as the mid-1990s, Nicholas Negroponte of technological prowess. For long-term value,
was reportedly predicting that by the year 2000, brands need emotional as well as technological
more people would be entertaining themselves on appeal. Indeed, they will have to invest in their brand
It is obviously important the Internet than watching T V networks. We shall as their major sustainable competitive advantage.
to try to understand see whether Toshitada Doi, president of Sony’s
general trends and Digital Creatures Laboratory, is right in saying that It is not unreasonable, for instance, to imagine that
possibilities in scientific, robots will eclipse PCs in product growth world- a new killer application will emerge from some-
wide within 30 years (or even within 10–15 years).4
economic and social where like Bangalore in the near future. Nor is it
terms if we are to plan However, as Alvin Toffler says in his introduction to unreasonable to suppose that the service and
and adapt brand branding skills required to build that proposition
futures, whether for into a sustainable brand will have developed to
“The inability to speak with precision and certainty
new or for existing such a degree in India itself that global brand status
about the future is no excuse for silence.”5
brands. Even the is within reach. What is more, the “skill cost”
strongest brands today difference between India and America or Europe,
can get stuck in a It is obviously important to try to understand general which has already seen global organizations such
complacent time warp, trends and possibilities in scientific, economic as Citibank and GE outsourcing their services to
overtaken by new and social terms if we are to plan and adapt brand the subcontinent, means that price differentials will
and baggage-free futures, whether for new or for existing brands. make their brands even more attractive.
competitors. Even the strongest brands today can get stuck in
a complacent time warp, overtaken by new and For comparison, look at the wages differential
baggage-free competitors. around the world: in 2003, the minimum wage per
hour was $5.15 in the United States and £4.20 in
Future brand issues the UK; equivalent wages were 18 pence (29 cents)
in China and 7 pence (11 cents) in India6. As far as
From past trends, the odds might seem in favor
of the top brands today still being up there in service expertise is concerned, a recent study by
25 years’ time. As the introduction to this book Deloitte Research concluded that in the next five
pointed out, over half of the 50 most valuable years, 2 million jobs in Western financial institutions
brands have been around for more than 50 years. will be moved overseas, which means that around
However, it is difficult to see how past performance $356 billion worth of financial services activity will
will give quite so much reassurance in the face of move away from first-world economies. Established
the extraordinary changes we are likely to see in brands will indeed have to continue to leverage
world power and economics in the next 10 years. their trust and heritage, even while the core of their
own service offering is on a passage to India to cut
The most successful technology and telecommuni- costs and satisfy Wall Street and the city. To take
cations brands have already shown how quickly up the opportunity properly, however, India will
they can progress if they read and act on consumer need to work on its nation branding in terms of
and business trends in the right way (look at reliability of infrastructure and the taint of corrup-
Microsoft, Nokia and Intel). Their challenge is to tion. With 1.3 billion consumers, China is the
maintain their position and sustain their value. world’s biggest potential consumer market.
The Future of Brands 4
It is currently difficult to attend a conference on This kind of false provenance, whether real or
world trade and financial issues without speakers assumed, is hardly a new idea. In the electronic
speculating on the extraordinary impact China is goods category alone, it has been customary for UK
having and will continue to have. A study by the electrical retailers to give their own-label products
Engineering Employers’ Federation in the UK7 sug- Japanese-sounding names, as this would give bet-
gested that one-third of manufacturing firms were ter quality associations than British-manufactured
considering shifting production to China. A vivid electrical goods. Think also of Haagen-Dazs,
case study is Hornby, a venerable British company, Estée Lauder, Hugo Boss and Sony as brands with
manufacturer of classic toy train sets, owner of a name at odds with the real country of origin
the Scalextric brand and recently brought back to and ownership. Clearly, although provenance, and
fame by the Hogwarts Express featured in the Harry authenticity in that provenance, is important in
Potter films. In speaking about the advantages of such categories as luxury and cars, so much
moving production to China, the CEO says: depends on how the brands are built and managed.
Many of the world’s most valuable brands now
“The strain on the bottom line began to ease transcend their country of origin. A Chinese com-
immediately. We were able to use the savings to pany such as Legend computers will need all these
increase the quality and details of the models so world-class branding skills if its global ambitions
that sales began to pick up.” are to be realized. As we have discussed before,
its ambitions to become the world’s biggest PC
Essentially, the company retained just the designers manufacturer within 10 years will not necessarily
and managers at its UK head office in Margate, make it the world’s most valuable PC brand.
Samsung, from South reducing the head count from 550 to 130, even However, there is a particularly strong Asian brand
Korea, is one of the most though some observers were sceptical of the long- case study that may serve to inspire them for
spectacular global brand term viability of separating innovation and production. the future.
success stories of recent
years. From a brand value One other thing Hornby’s CEO outlined was his Samsung, from South Korea, is one of the most
of just under $2.5 billion view of the fate of the company had he not moved spectacular global brand success stories of recent
in 1997, it grew to almost production: “Hornby would have closed, or been years. From a brand value of just under $2.5 billion
$11 billion in 2003 taken over by a Chinese company, if we hadn’t in 1997, it grew to almost $11 billion in 2003,
moved.” This was no idle boast in the light of the and seems likely to continue its success. It is the
case of Haier. Almost 20 years ago the Qingdao reason for its success that is of interest here.
Refrigerator Plant bought the production-line In the mid-1990s, Samsung’s managers realized
technology from Liberhaier, a German company, that they would be on the commodity and low-
and used this as the basis for its brand name. price road to perdition if they did not develop their
As noted in the previous chapter, Haier is now own brand. They saw a real opportunity in the
the world’s second-biggest refrigerator brand. digital platform, invested heavily in premium-
How much of this is to do with the borrowed belief quality innovation and R&D and, most telling of all,
among some buyers that they are of German invested in their own brand rather than be
condemned to the uncertainty of OEM8 status
origin is debatable.
indefinitely. They built brand awareness around
the world, and resolved to use their brand value
(rather than just straight financials) as a key
The Future of Brands 5
performance measure. As the company’s president An interesting battle of retail brands and operating
and CEO said at the time: philosophies is potentially emerging between
the mighty Wal-Mart and Tesco, a UK-based
“Competing successfully in the 21st century will retailer. In many ways, Wal-Mart is the archetypical
require more than just outstanding product American business success story. It has in
and quality functions. Intangibles such as corpo- Sam Walton a founder with a distinctive home-
More than 60% of the
rate and brand image will be crucial factors for cooked philosophy, with a strong service and moral
world’s most valuable
achieving a competitive edge.” ethic, and a zealous evangelism for giving people
brands are still American
American-style life opportunities.
owned. Despite opinion
This concern for other measures, and ways of
polls and anti-American
measuring performance to ensure that everyone in Wal-Mart’s expansion internationally has been
a company continues to build brand value rather cautious so far, as has its behavior around its pur-
mers can be radical at
than trading on it, is perhaps something that more chase and management of the Asda brand in
the research question-
Western companies, particularly publicly quoted the UK. While the retail giant has made a simple
naire and reactionary at
companies, and the equity markets need to reflect on. philosophy of low prices and genuine customer
service work well in the United States, and has
Brand America may appear to have taken a series made much of its respect for employees, there are
of body blows in the early years of the 21st century. perhaps lessons to be learned from the innovation,
However, while it might be true to say that there own-brand building and customer relationship
are slightly fewer American-owned brands in management of the best UK grocery retailers.
the top 100 today compared with a few years ago, There are several margin-point differences between
this is as much to do with market changes and the average grocery retail businesses in the UK
self-inflicted corporate wounds as American and those in America.
heritage. More than 60 percent of the world’s most
valuable brands are still American-owned. Despite While some of this difference is down to the domi-
opinion polls and anti-American demonstrations, nant position of major retail chains in the UK, it is
consumers can be radical at the research question- also because of their success in building their own
naire and reactionary at the checkout. brand values, and using their own-brand products
and services to sustain their quality image,
However, other countries are beginning to learn the rather than just being price fighters against manu-
global brand game, and companies such as Coca- facturer brands. Tesco is now not only the UK’s
Cola and Nike will need to keep on reflecting their number one retailer and one of its most respected
sensitivity to local cultures and habits in their man- companies, it is also the world’s largest online
agement and marketing approaches. It is interesting grocer, and its joint venture with iVillage.com has
that, whereas for the past 50 years America itself created the largest women’s online destination in
has been a strong brand, standing for freedom and the world. Out of the 10 countries in which it oper-
lifestyle aspiration, increasing familiarity and the ates, Tesco is currently market leader in six. Its stated
spread of democracy have meant that these previ- core purpose, to “create value for customers to
ously magical qualities have lost their cachet. earn their lifetime loyalty,” has driven its ability to
American-owned brands will have to work that much extend its brand well beyond grocery into banking,
harder on more imaginative positionings, operations health care and mobile telephony. It is a brand that
and communications for their brands if they are to is trusted by people in whatever area it is operating.
withstand the challenge from all comers.
The Future of Brands 6
Current product-based This ability of a strong brand to transcend categories, These areas could yield entirely new global brands
brands will find it and to be trusted by consumers in whichever cate- in the future; it may well be that the most valuable
harder than service or gory it chooses to involve itself, would seem to be brand in the next 25 years has not been invented
retail brands to deepen an important property of the world’s greatest yet. However, it is equally possible that an existing,
and broaden their brands in the future. In a hyper-competitive, over- trusted brand may extend or cross into these new
relationships with their communicated and complicated world, people will areas. As part of this, the blurring of the online and
audiences. This is not increasingly want and need to simplify their pur- offline worlds (a distinction that is already barely
just because they are chases and time management. What is more, recognized by global teenagers) will mean that any
having to invest so in a blurring physical and virtual world, any brand brand can become powerful both as a medium
much of their marketing will have the ability to be a powerful medium and and as a retailer, virtual or otherwise.
support in retail distri- a power retailer – if only in virtual space.
bution, rather than Current product-based brands will find it harder
spending it on consumer Trusted brands provide ideal navigation for than service or retail brands to deepen and
communication consumers across sectors, and as the strongest broaden their relationships with their audiences.
will be able to leap into categories without having This is not just because they are having to invest
a previous product or service track record, so much of their marketing support in retail distrib-
no brand will be sacred in its marketplace anymore. ution, rather than spending it on consumer
Although it has its financial challenges, the Virgin communication. It is also because in their current
brand is another good example of this leaping form, they lack the ability to control the total
ability. It has a strong vision and values around customer experience, and so engage their audiences
being people’s champion, innovative and irreverent, as fully as they would like. Chapter 6 of this book
and through popular support has managed highlights the increasing importance of experience
to transcend markets from airlines to cosmetics, in building brands, and we should expect to see in
from financial services to mobile telephony, the future many more “manu-retailers”: product-
from soft to hard drinks and many more. based brand companies developing their own retail
experiences and direct relationships with their
The issue of category-defying life brands is also consumers, both offline and online.
relevant when looking at those new or growth
categories that would seem most likely to produce Unilever’s experiment with “myhome”, a home
strong brand growth in the future. These include: cleaning and laundry service, was interesting in its
extension of Persil and Cif as service brands.
• health and well-being, including more holistic Although it did not progress beyond its test market,
and organic lifestyles; it nevertheless demonstrated the company’s inter-
• leisure, entertainment and “new adventure” est in developing core brands beyond the product
experiences; form. To facilitate this process of concentration on
• physical and emotional security; resources, innovation and investment behind its
• services for a new generation of the “new old” most successful brands, Unilever has been culling
(a critical trend in industrialized countries); its smaller and weaker brands in recent years,
• lifelong education; either selling them or dropping them. As other
• information and lifestyle management (relevant conglomerates have been doing the same,
to the prediction of Sony’s “personal robots”); an interesting possibility is on the cards.
• biotechnology and genetics.
The Future of Brands 7
Not only will we continue to see further brand of guardian brands. A recent example is the role
consolidation and corporate musical chairs, Oxfam has played in the developing-world coffee
but some of the brands that are being sold off crisis, where coffee farmers in the poorest coun-
could end up in the newer economies, fired up by tries are facing falling prices and new levels of
entrepreneurial spirit and a new angle for selling. poverty. In a 2002 report, Oxfam demanded that
Think of Haier many times over. the multinational companies involved in coffee pur-
chasing and marketing demonstrate a “long-term
commitment to ethical purchasing.”9 In the future,
Other areas of brand activity that are likely to
increase in the future are co-branding (for example, raising funds will be as much of a challenge for
Sony Ericsson) and celebrity branding (as in current such organizsations as it has always been. To avoid
examples like David Beckham and Jennifer Lopez). the danger of appearing compromised by expedient
The challenge for the former is to generate clarity corporate partnerships, they should perhaps think
about the joint brand proposition (never easy in more about selling or licensing their intellectual
partnership), and for the latter, to identify how to property about best practices in ethical processes
generate long-term sustainable value after the and measurement.
flush of celebrity fades.
Further brand management considerations
It is also interesting as a trend that major corpora- In maximizing and sustaining the value of brands
tions such as Mars and Estée Lauder have either in the future there needs to be more focus on:
launched or acquired brands that feel like explicit
social enterprises, and have allowed them to • Understanding the value and value drivers of a
operate with no obvious brand connection with the brand. As can be seen from the Samsung case,
Clarity of vision, values corporate owner. Mars acquired Seeds of Change a focus on brand value and measuring perfor-
and positioning overall in 1997; it had been launched in 1989, with a stated mance on the basis of the brand value added
are often given insuffi- purpose of preserving biodiversity and sustainable can build momentum and create sustainable
cient attention in development. Estée Lauder later acquired Aveda, growth. It is also crucial management informa-
practice. The majority a brand connecting “beauty, environment and well- tion for mergers, acquisitions and divestments,
of corporate and brand being.” At a conference shortly afterwards, which will continue in the future as markets
visions are interchange- Leonard Lauder said that Estée Lauder itself was shake out and consolidate. Few mergers currently
able, bland and viewed committed to phasing out synthetics entirely, deliver long-term shareholder value, largely
with cynicism. following the lead of Aveda. Using new ventures of because of overemphasis on financials and prac-
this kind as operating test-beds for new business tical operations. Greater focus on brand value
principles indicates that major corporations recog- would help mergers succeed as well as generat-
nize that business may have to be conceived and ing real organic growth.
conducted in rather different ways in the future.
• Clarity of brand positioning. Clarity of vision,
Another area to mention for brand growth is the values and positioning overall are often given
non-governmental organisation (NGO) sector. insufficient attention in practice. The majority of
When national governments, for whatever reasons, corporate and brand visions are interchangeable,
cannot or choose not to act, non-governmental bland and viewed with cynicism. In an over-com-
and not-for-profit organisations can play the role municated world, lack of clarity will substantially
The Future of Brands 8
reduce effectiveness and efficiency, and complex • The need for internal and external operations to
brand and sub-brand structures without a real be aligned – and transparent. In an all-seeing
audience rationale will reduce this still further. digital world, and in a sharper business environ-
Clarity of strategy is also one of the leading ment where employees at all levels can be
criteria by which companies are judged. ambassadors or saboteurs for the company’s
reputation, there really will be no hiding places
• Brands as total experiences, and as central any more. Organizations will have no choice
organizing principles, rather than just products but to be transparent in their dealings and fulfil
and logos. The success of experience-based their promises, or to have transparency forced
brands at building deeper customer relationships on them. On a more positive note, numerous
at the expense of solely product-based brands studies have confirmed that investment in a com-
argues strongly for every brand to think about its pany’s employees, and their good treatment,
total chain of experience – from visual identity translates into significantly better customer satis-
to advertising, product, packaging, PR , in-store faction. Customer satisfaction and loyalty are,
Product placements in environment – and increasingly round-the-clock and will be, the drivers of long-term sustainable
editorial and appropriate presence and availability online. Technology brand value.
sponsorship of events, will provide the opportunity to build an even-
programs and computer greater sensory experience into brands through • Rigorous legal protection around the world.
games will become more touch, smell and sound. Whatever emerges, It is estimated that 9 percent of world trade is
important. In particular, distinctive value can and will need to be added counterfeited.10 Although international law is
young people around the at every stage of the experience, or at the very increasingly being upheld, even in the previous
world have high expec- least, not lost. counterfeiting capitals of the world, it is likely
tations from brands, and that while there are still brands to copy, there
are increasingly difficult • More compelling and more imaginative will be willing makers and buyers of copies.
to reach and satisfy. expressions of a brand’s identity and brand Brand owners must use the full weight of the
communications. Senior executives may not feel law, quickly and publicly, to prevent value loss
entirely comfortable in this area, but the ability and degradation. Brand valuation, which can
to break through brand proliferation and com- demonstrate how much economic loss might be
munications clutter depends on imaginative and attributed to passing off, is an effective way of
innovative creative expression. In the developed supporting cases such as these.
world, audiences are knowledgeable and savvy
about marketing, and will increasingly edit out • Corporate social responsibility as a core corporate
communications that they find boring or irritating. responsibility. Corporate social responsibility
Imagination will need to be applied not just to (CSR) seems to be an overused buzz term in too
the creative message, but also to the medium. many organizations today, and a whole new
Product placements in editorial and appropriate industry has grown up around it. Although good
sponsorship of events, programs and computer intentions may be there, all too often organizations
games will become more important. In particular, look at CSR as an insurance policy, or a more
young people around the world have high expec- sophisticated form of cause-related marketing,
tations from brands, and are increasingly difficult rather than as core to their operations.
to reach and satisfy.
The Future of Brands 9
Many responsible companies produce elaborate The future of brand leadership
CSR reports, including social and environmental It is appropriate, from time to time, for governments,
performance. However, it is necessary to ask businesses and indeed any organization to ask them-
whether the basic principle of separate reports is selves what they are there for. Procter & Gamble
the right one, or whether there should be a more recently restated its core purpose of improving the
integrated and central way of dealing with these lives of its consumers. Samsung talks about
Any brand seeking to issues in the future if we are going to have creating superior products and services and
succeed and to be most the kind of world we would all want. Or at least to “contributing to a better global society … to the
valuable in the future will mitigate the pessimistic scenarios of environmen- prosperity of people all over the world – a single
need to think and behave tal destruction and terrorism breeding in areas of human society.” The UK government published its
like a leader: at the basic poverty and exclusion that we might all fear. quality of life indicators in 1999 in answer to chal-
levels of product and lenges on how to create a more sustainable society.
service distinction, and For those who would say, “But what has this to do
at the more emotional with business and brands?” the fact that brands It is easy, but probably not helpful, to be cynical
levels of creativity, have the power to change people’s lives and indeed about these kinds of statements. Ironically, one of
values and core social shape the world we live in is not a fanciful notion, the brakes to progress on environmental and social
contribution. but a demonstrable fact. Brands have extraordinary issues for companies has been a fear that their
economic power, often transcending national actions will be interpreted cynically. Although the
governments, and are able to connect with people’s stick is an important incentive for companies not to
lives, behavior and purchases across borders. misbehave, opinion-forming media might think
If there are those who say that business’s only sometimes about the carrot of encouragement for
concern should be to make a profit, then this would corporations trying to do the right thing and
not only to be missing the point about CSR at its struggling to balance the interests of shareholders,
basic level – that CSR, by definition, demands more consumers and the public at large.
than the profit motive – but also missing out on
opportunities for brand leadership in the future. This balancing act also leads on to discussions
From more than 3,000 studies of brands around the about how businesses (and indeed governments)
world, leadership is the characteristic most closely are measured and rewarded, as well as how to
correlated with the strongest long-term value. truly measure the wealth and well-being of society
in general. A recent study by the Future Foundation
Any brand seeking to succeed and to be most concluded that the increase in wealth and posses-
valuable in the future will need to think and behave sions in the UK was poorly correlated with
like a leader: at the basic levels of product and happiness,10 and the UK government’s Sustainable
service distinction, and at the more emotional levels Development Commission found the same in its
of creativity, values and core social contribution. study of prosperity.11 While it is easy to sit in the
wealthy West and philosophize about these things
when people in developing countries are dying
through lack of basic services, it does nevertheless
raise questions about the goal of development.
Will our prioritizing of economic success in prefer-
ence to any other be as appropriate in the future,
in either developed or developing countries?
The Future of Brands 10
There are several references to alternative, more References
1. Chinese Vice Premier Wu Bangguo,
broad-based measurement systems for business reported in the China People’s Daily.
and society in this book. These would give a broader 2. “The end of the road?,” Sunday Times, 20 April 2003.
3. “Chronicle of the future,” Sunday Times.
base to the priorities of CEOs and governments. 4. “Sony re-dreams its future,” Fortune, 10 November 2002.
5. Alvin Toffler, Future Shock, Bantam Books.
6. Quoted in “The great Indian takeaway,” Sunday Times, 8 June 2003.
It would, of course, be better for organizations to 7. Ibid.
8. Original equipment manufacturer.
take an active lead in setting standards in different 9. “Mugged: poverty in your coffee cup,” Oxfam, 2002
10. “High anxiety screws up our hi-tech heaven,”
markets. What can be termed a “leader brand” is Sunday Times, 27 July 2003.
not a brand leader in the old-fashioned sense, 11. “Re-defining prosperity,” Jonathon Porritt,
Chair of Sustainable Development Commission, June 2003.
reflecting scale and muscle alone; rather it reflects
a newer, restless and agenda-setting leadership
across all areas of philosophy and operations,
inside and out. Leader brands also need to take it
upon themselves to explain the wider benefits of
branding, and increasingly show sensitivity to local
cultures, so that they continue to have licence to
operate (and hopefully be welcomed) in even the
most difficult parts of the world. As discussed
throughout, brands can be uniting influences, and
powerful social and economic developers. It is
important for all brand owners and influencers to
manage their brands well, and as a discernible
force for good, and to ensure that they help people
understand the benefits in a more informed way.
The balance of this book has been quite unashamedly
“pro logo,” but there is a conditional “pro” here.
Brands will continue to succeed if they deserve it,
and since the future of brands is the future of sus-
tainable business and fundamental to developments
in society, it is important to us all to see that they do.