Discussion Topic: Advertising & Brand Building

According to Christensen, Cook & Hall (2005), “Much advertising is wasted in the mistaken belief that it alone can build brands. Advertising cannot build brands, but it can tell people about an existing branded product’s ability to do a job well.” Discuss.

Source: Christensen, C. M. & Cook, S. & Hall, T. (2005), Marketing Malpractice: The Cause and the Cure”, Harvard Business Review.

16 Replies to “Discussion Topic: Advertising & Brand Building”

  1. It’s absolutely true that advertisement alone can not build brands on its own as advertisement informs a customer about the product but if the product it self is not effective, The money spent on advertisement is wasted.

    The product needs to have strong bases as well and rather than wasting money on advertising the product, It should be spent on market research to observe and find out what does a customer want?. what is their purpose of buying the product or rather we should say what job is the customer hiring the product for?.

    Once we have observed the target market and analyzed the information gained, We should go ahead with those points and advertise them and those would serve as the weak points of the customers and that’s the whole purpose of advertisement, Informing what great thing we have to offer.

  2. Advertising and its role in brand building or brand activation is often misunderstood by people not familiar with it. Many executives think that by simply throwing valuable company funds at at a marketing problem will result in more sales. However the Marketing Malpractice article was right in that brands are as good as what jobs they are associated with in the minds of the customers. Rather than using the accepted terminology of “buying” when referring to the sale of a product. It is now considered more accurate to use the term “hire”, which brings to mind the novel idea of looking at ones products as a service instead. So rather than simply be focused on the sale of a product as the end game, we as marketers should keep a holistic view about why customers hire products and what jobs do they want to get done. This way marketers can be more focused on the ever changing needs of the market and use advertising only as a means of communicating the exact nature of the job their product can help people do.

  3. I second this statement that advertising alone cannot build brands. People don’t believe in whatever advertisements tell them. No matter how much charm advertisers put in their advertisements, viewers are smart enough to know that all they are doing this is to attract people and owners are just trying their best to make their sales. Maybe there was a time when advertisements played a crucial role in building brands but as far as I know it’s not so in today’s time. If your brand doesn’t offer trustworthiness no advertisement can give it shelter and let it grow. The most misunderstood fact about advertising is that it can make an ambiguous brand famous; this is not at all true if your brand is not good nothing can even make it look good. Main motive of advertisement should be and is to maintain a brand name and that comes after a brand had managed to achieve a strong position in market. Many renowned brands like Google, Microsoft and many more they started advertising after like many years of the birth of the brand. They now advertise to maintain their name not to build the name. Advertising alone cannot change minds. People won’t believe that in making of fur coats no animal got hurt or was killed. I think that ads should be a way to build close relationship with customers rather than taking it as a way of building a brand.

  4. We cannot say that advertising built brands as brand building and advertising are totally separate things. Advertising is not about selling the skills of your firm, but about promoting the qualities that differentiate your firm from so many others. Differentiation is your brand and advertising is about positioning that brand by promoting and communicating your firm’s differentiators to a targeted mass audience. The goal of advertising is to set focus on what sets your product apart from others. Branding through repeated advertising is an effective way to accomplish that goal. Advertising means generating opportunities, but not building a brand. There are so many other factors that together build a brand. As this is said in the article that most great brands were built before their owners started advertising.

  5. In the article, there is a quote written of great marketing professor Theodore Levitt was also pioneer of concept of Marketing Myopia ” People don’t want to buy a quarter inch drill. they want a quarter inch hole”. Like marketers should build the Purpose brand that can do the job for the customer. According the Christensen ” there is a mistaken belief that advertising is used for building brands”. but the purpose of advertising is about informing audience about the product or service offering. Building brand is basically the product of the brand that is tightly associated with the job for which it is meant to be hired a purpose brand. Purpose brand has two sides: one side guides customer to right products. the other side guides product designers, marketers and advertisers about new versions of the product. a good purpose brand clarifies which features and functions are relevant to the job. advertising is not about building brands but is about promoting the qualities that differentiate your firm from so many others. differentiation is your brand and advertising is about positioning that brand by promoting and communicating your firms differentiators to a targeted mass audience. In the article, there are certain examples of multinational brands like E Bay, Disney, Goggle developed a sterling reputation before much spent on advertising. To build brands that means something to customers, you need to attach them to products that mean something to customers. Those companies who build brands through advertising can only remain stable in short run. But in long run, they will not be able to differentiate with their competitors. Effective advertising involves clarified the nature of the job and helped people they had the job to do it. Brand building through advertising is quite expensive and a wrong way to build a brand.

  6. Advertising possesses an ability to inform people about the attributes of the product, but advertising, every time does not mean the product is going to be sold. It depends upon the final goal a marketer wants to achieve in the result of advertising he/she is investing money for. There are four basic aims of advertising according to the particular link:
    1. Increasing Sales and Profits:
    When the ad gets registered by the sensory receptors, it eventually leads that ad being stored in to the memory. When it is stored in the memory, he/she might go for buying the product just to try that whether what the company is claiming is either true or not. If it is true, he/she might become potential customer of the company.
    2. Encourage Trial and Usage
    Making the customer try the product might lead to either the higher profits of the firm or bankruptcy. If it is the deceptive advertising, the customer might go on speaking bad words about the product, as product being not able to fulfill the expectations of the customers that were resulted by that deceptive advertisements.
    3. Reminder Advertising
    Reminding the customer that this product is still alive might also helps in achieving the basic objective of advertising.
    4. Follow up
    Following up to customer that were made through advertising through phone calls, and messages.

    Link: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/three-main-advertising-objectives-21779.html

    So all-in-all it depends if the marketers want to build brand through advertising or not. If they are not, it means they are legit, but if they aim to build their brands through advertising, I think it is still possible.

    As per my knowledge Advertising does build brands too. It does not necessarily means the sales, but it spreads the word about your product around. How brands are built depends upon how they advertise their product. Brands are built when one gets successful in making people emotionally attached to the product, and how they relate themselves to the product. Hence, proving that advertising can build brands. Yes, advertising alone can not build brands, there are several of other factors which are the reasons behind brand building, but talking about advertising being an important factor in building brands may be summed up in disagreements to thoughts of Mr. Christensen. According to the following link, the first process in brand building is brand communication. Advertising is how a company communicate with the customer, so again proving that it helps in brand building. Then it is Brand experience, and the third process is brand disposition.


  7. Advertising is important in building a brand, but saying that “brands are built purely on advertising alone” is not true. Brands like Coca-cola are built on advertising but these brands are very few. Google, apple, Facebook, Starbucks are some of the ost powerful brands in the brand yet you see them advertising very rarely. They follow the basic steps rather than just spending on the advertising only which includes: differentiating, positioning, aligning and delivering. Advertising helps your product to stay in the market through promotions and awareness, which helps you increase your revenue. It helps your product/brand to stay in consumer’s mind, and makes it easy for the consumer to make the final buying decision.

  8. First of all we should know what advertising is, advertising is about informing audience about the product or a service offering. brand building is done by making a purposeful brand. purposeful brand is built my making the product related to needs and wants of the customer. brand building and advertising has become a very prominent part of any company’s strategic plan considering the competitive global environment that the world is in today. there are certain multinational brands like Nestle, McDonald, Pepsi developed a sterling reputation before much spend on advertising. Companies who brought differentiated products in the market earns great profits in long run and those companies who just made the product and did advertising to build may earn profits in short run but might face failure in long run if competitor build the better product then the competitors product. so major goal of advertising is to focus attention on what sets your firm apart from others.

  9. brand building can be termed as enhancing a brands equity, and any activity that aids to this is a tool for brand building whether it be advertising, bill boards, magazines, newspaper etc.
    Advertising no doubt, creates the strongest form of brand building due to its ability to depict human emotions and capture the full essence of sensory branding which advertises the product/service at the emotional level of the consumer. however it lacks the information giving ability which other form such as leaflets, promotion campaign, press conferences etc.
    however, in the very recent future brand building has taken a twist into internet branding verses advertising. this boost in internet brand building has taken spark from again the fact that people have formed emotional connections with the internet and its varied features and services. its like the publics second home. communication made on television can be ignored and doubted but the phrase “if it’s on the net it must be true” holds some truth. The spectrum of marcoms is changing very rapidly

  10. I totally agree with the statement that Advertising is not the source to build the Brands but it is the technique used by the Marketers to promote or to inform the consumers about the particular brand or product. In my view the products are the main source of building brands and their good image. If a consumer likes the product, automatically a good image is being built in his or her mind and the next time that consumer will prefer to buy that product which have satisfied him or her. Consumer satisfaction is very important when we talk about products or brands.
    In the end I would say that Advertising is very important part of Marketing the product but the companies can just use it as an extension strategy to increase the sales not as a substitute over product, that they make poor product and think that by spending huge amount on advertising the product will get boost. If they think like that they are going on the wrong path.

  11. I remember the activity we did in class, where everyone revealed how and why they choose FC College for their baccalaureate degree. Most students including myself said that someone, friend or family, recommended us to join FC. I think we can relate those answers with the statement above. We all had seen college’s advertisement in newspapers and social media. But generally even after watching an advertisement we like to consult. It is the human nature to believe what our friends and family say about their experiences and as they form our primary frame of reference, we tend to accept whatever they say.
    Advertising does play an important role in promoting the brand and creating awareness about it. It delivers the message to masses and helps people to remember the brand. That is why, Coke Cola despite being one of the most popular and trusted name in beverage industry, spend a fortune on advertising. A lot of other beverages have invested heavily on advertising as well. For example R.C cola and Amrar cola, but it did not help them build a brand like Coke or Pepsi.
    Therefore in my opinion, the quality of a product or performance of a product, for which it is hired for, is the most important factor which evolve it into a brand. e.g Google! Without the help of advertisement they became the world’s most popular search engine because we are humans and we love talk and share our experiences with friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances and now with the help of social media, anyone who are slightly familiar with our existence.
    Thus in reference of my experience and the result of the activity we did in class, I am compelled to say that brands are not built by advertising alone.

  12. Companies tell consumers through advertising that how their product/service can satisfy consumer’s needs or wants. If a company creates a good product which satisfy a consumer need or want but they don’t advertise it well then it can result in failure of that product or service, also, if a company creates a product which is unable to satisfy a need or want but they advertise it on a large scale then that service or product can fail, in short success of a product or service depend on both elements, companies should focus on creating a good product or service and also on advertising it effectively and lack in any one can result in failure of that product or service. Spending million of dollars on advertising a product which can’t satisfy a consumer need or want won’t make it a brand because consumers won’t buy it again after a bad experience with that product. Every year tons of products are launched but most of them fail because either the product couldn’t satisfy the need or want of consumers or the company didn’t advertise it well.

  13. The proposition states that advertising should never be deemed as the only way to build a brand. However, the importance of advertising could never be ignored. The concept of cult brands/products is an example of the importance of advertising in building a brand. Cult products are the ones that “command fierce consumer loyalty, devotion, and maybe even worship by consumers.” These are brands that have consumers that are almost fanatical about the brand or product. These products have been able to form a connection with consumers, where consumers feel that as if they are a part of the brand itself. These are usually innovative brands that have built a loyal customer base over a period of time. A cult product is one that has a person’s degree of involvement to the highest level, that is, it has the highest amount of mental processing power devoted to it. However, marketers need to understand that a cult product is not only made based on a good product, but it is made in the minds of the consumers. Cult products are built by not just making a good product, but by increasing the reputation of the people using your product. This is mostly done through advertising. Marketers also need to understand that a cult product is made because the consumers have a certain level of expectation associated with the product. Cult products have the leverage to make certain mistakes, which might be overseen by “devout” consumers. However, if consumer expectations are not consistently met, the consumers might start switching to other products. Nestle bottled water has been able to make its cult of consumers in Pakistan who tend to view the product as different from its competitors. These are consumers who would tend not to use another brand’s water. Nestle is a brand that spends a lot on its advertising efforts.
    The article, “If Brands Are Built over Years, Why Are They Managed over Quarters?” further explains that we have brands like Nike that allocate $1.2 billion on advertising. It points out that short-sighted companies underinvest on advertising. The article also states that the long-term impact of advertising in building a brand is 60% greater than its short-term impact. We also have brands like Coke that are built upon advertising. The brand image of a “mere” beverage like Coke is built upon its advertising.
    1. Consumer Behavior by Michael R. Solomon. 10th edition. Page 131.
    2. https://hbr.org/2007/07/if-brands-are-built-over-years-why-are-they-managed-over-quarters

  14. It is true that advertisement alone cannot build a brand, rather it enhances the brand’s image and positions it uniquely in the minds of the consumers. Brands are built through effective positioning, quality of experience derived from the use of a given product, brand loyalty, brand image and the ability to adapt to the changing trends of consumers’ wants. It is a complex process wherein a lot of factors ranging from human psychology, cultural differences, social dynamics and globalization etc play an important role. It is these factors that primarily influence the utility of a product. One brand may flourish in UK, but be a complete failure in Nepal. This disparity becomes ever more evident when you go for sub groups within a country’s society.

    As for the purpose of advertisement, it is an open secret acknowledged by all the marketers that advertisement is synonymous to legalized manipulation of the masses. Advertisements, on the face of it, intend to be informative or persuasive in their nature. Either way, it is a manipulation of the masses in the sense that we are informed or compelled to believe in a product’s ability to achieve the said objectives and its resulting utility according to the advertisers’ own conception. To make it more simple, it is merely make-believe. They may choose to flaunt statistics such as ‘Eight out of ten dentists recommend using Sensodyne for tooth ache!’, or ‘Durex condoms effectively thwart transmission of STDs and pregnancy. 99.9% success rate!’. Is the government responsible for validating those statements? If so, to what extent is it actually enforced? Colgate may choose to say ‘Nine out of ten dentists suggest using Colgate’ – WHO CARES? Point being, they cannot lie in absolute terms. For instance, they cannot boast of having a hundred percent support, rather, they can choose whatever they like below that. Is that not legalized lying?
    Thus it stands proven that even the intended information with regards to the product’s ability to perform a job, as the advertisements intend, is not true in its entirety. Instead, its just relative to the ability of all the other competing products and depends on the perception of the potential customer along with the marketing strategy used by the company.

  15. I completely agree with the statement, as advertising and brand building are different. Advertising is a tool to create awareness and to persuade the audience. It helps to attract the customer but it is the product itself that builds the brand. Brand building enhances a brand’s equity and is dependent on how the customer distinguishes the specific brand from others. If a lot of money is spent on advertising but the use of brand doesnot fulfill the need or the job for which the consumer has hired the product/service then the brand would eventually fail and the money spent on advertising would be completely wasted. Instead of this, it should be spent on the product/service itself so that the brand is able to do the job well and then the company can tell the people about its offering through advertisement.

  16. Advertising is important. It is a fastest way to reach a large audience. But advertising is not omnipotent. It is expensive and risky to rely on advertising alone to build a brand. As stated in Harvard Business Review article ” Marketing Malpractice”. Advertising cannot build a brand but it can tell people about an existing branded product’s ability to do a job well (fulfill a need).

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