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market niche. MTV is also shown to When it comes to concluding what

be a good example of how to deal with sets apart the durably successful brands
the problem faced by any youth brand, featured in ‘Brand Royalty’ from less
namely that eventually your audience successful brands, Haig suggests that
outgrows you. MTV has dealt with this the examples in this book are successful
problem by setting up VH1, ‘a music not because they conform to a neat
channel aimed at a slightly older and little set of laws that apply to all brands
calmer viewership’. but because they follow their own
Another youth brand analysed by individual path with confidence; suc-
Haig is the jeans brand Diesel, whose cessful brands are similar in that they all
pioneering self-referential advertising have a clear vision, but that vision is
lampoons the over-inflated claims of never the same. The reader should find
rival brands that promise to improve or plenty of inspiration and ideas regard-
add meaning to our lives simply by ing clarity of vision and distinct brand
selling us a pair of jeans. The author identity throughout this well-written,
describes how Diesel deliberately ad- very well-informed book.
vertises a kitsch, uncool, 1950s-style
ethos, which paradoxically makes it Keith Dinnie
even cooler. Book Review Editor

Creating Passion Brands

by Helen Edwards and Derek Day
Kogan Page, London; 2005; ISBN 0 7494 43707; 238pp; paperback; £25

The blandness of consumer-led brands slavish devotion to consumer whims

is the central theme underpinning this and directives, is leading brands on
intellectually invigorating book. Ed- a road to nowhere’. Their proposed
wards and Day contend that the obses- solution lies in creating the passion
sive consumer-centric focus of most of brands of the book’s title, brands which
today’s brands results not so much in remain true to themselves, maintaining
customer satisfaction or delight, but a keen awareness of consumer attitudes
rather in a drab homogeneity wherein but leading these attitudes rather than
brands strive to pander to fickle con- following them.
sumer whims rather than boldly assert- CEOs, marketing professionals and
ing their own brand personality. The MBA students are the stated target
authors take the view that ‘current market for this book. Perhaps for this
brand management practice, with its reason, some flattery is thrown in the


direction of academics in what is culture in order to provide truly

otherwise a very hands-on practitioner innovative differentiation. The familiar
text: ‘Practitioners can learn from example of the Sony Walkman is
academics — despite the latter’s lack trotted out to justify this standpoint, a
of practical experience, and arcane product which was launched based on
terminology. We decode the gob- faith in its appeal that was not at all
bledygook and show how the latest justified by consumer research con-
thinking from academia can trans- ducted prior to the product launch.
form your brand.’ While there is no One of the most insightful obser-
doubt that gobbledygook flourishes in vations made in this excellent
academia, the two authors here are not book concerns the excessive use of
averse to ladling out some of their focus groups in contemporary brand
own. When describing their ‘Brand management. The authors point out
Trampoline’ model, whose four corners that 85 per cent of marketing’s total
comprise ideology, capability, consumer qualitative research budget goes on
and environment, readers are informed focus groups. This is despite the
that ‘each of the four corners has existence of many alternative forms of
become one of the trampoline’s legs; qualitative research that brands could
the Passionpoint is now a small area in draw upon, if they displayed the
the centre of the trampoline, a kind of imagination and vision to do so. Some
sweet spot, from which propulsion is at of the less used qualitative op-
once most forceful, effortless and tions include ethnography, friendship
accurate’. Although talk of trampolines pairs, cooperative enquiry, accom-
and sweet spots may seem a bizarre panied shopping trips, video diaries and
terminology to employ in the context discourse analysis. But it is the relative
of managing brands, the metaphor is a ease and low cost of focus groups that
useful and actionable one, with its clear drives their ascendancy in the realm of
identification of the need to achieve qualitative enquiry, according to the
strategic fit between brand and en- authors, who also rightly stress the
vironment. artificial nature of the focus group
While at pains to point out that they conversation and the exaggerated and
are not anti-consumer research, Ed- contrived level of detail with which
wards and Day emphasise the risk of brands are discussed in a focus group
sterile conservatism if brand strategy context. A more holistic view is
is predicated purely upon what is suggested by Edwards and Day, who
generally termed consumer insight. suggest that a more useful way of
The authors believe that ‘innovation is employing qualitative research tech-
blunted by the need to stay within the niques would be to aim for a more
consumer’s comfort zone’, and that ‘by rounded understanding of the way
communing so earnestly with con- people lead their lives and go about
sumers about what they want from their day — ‘consumers on consumers’
the brand or the sector they tether rather than ‘consumers on the brand’.
creativity to the limits of the average Some good examples of passion
person’s imagination’. A brand must brands are cited in order to illustrate
therefore have the courage to filter the book’s main themes. Innocent,
consumer opinion through its own Camper shoes and Google are deemed


to be exemplary in their clearly stated fidence, momentum and ideological

foundational beliefs, while there is a clarity include Mercedes, Burberry,
very illuminating case study entitled ‘A Virgin, Sony, Nike, Samsung and
tale of two Co-ops’ in which the Hugo Boss.
contrasting fortunes of the Co-opera- Having described in some detail in
tive Food Retail Stores and the the first half of the book what
Co-operative Bank are described. The they mean by passion brands, the
Co-op food stores are judged to have authors devote the second half of the
foundered as a brand because they book to how such brands may be
allowed their beliefs to remain passive created. A number of key points are
and inert, whereas the Co-operative made, such as someone senior should
Bank has prospered through redis- own the project; team involvement
covering and reinterpreting its long- for key stages; cross-discipline teams
suppressed beliefs. As the authors point are better; a neutral moderator can
out, the irony is that both brands are overcome hierarchy; outsiders will
closely related, in terms of their social broaden perspective; identify creatives
history and core beliefs, but one brand and mavens; be clear on roles and
has made its way in today’s world while responsibilities; build internal support
the other appears to have lost its way. through involvement; and finally, be
Three defining characteristics are tough on timing. Anyone who is
described as being possessed by passion familiar with the new product develop-
brands. First, they are brands with ment process will have seen all of that
active beliefs; secondly, they have before; however, it is less usual to see
confidence rooted in capability; and such a process advocated for brand
thirdly, they stay vibrant in an ever- rather than new product development.
changing world. Unilever is presented This exemplifies the authors’ holistic
as an example of a company with view of best practice in brand manage-
brands which fulfil the above criteria, ment. Edwards and Day offer a
particularly in the case of its stain- refreshingly rounded view on brand
removal laundry brands which have the management, and their belief in the
confidence to proclaim ‘Dirt is good’. need for brands to remain true to their
As the authors indicate, in a category essence in a rapidly changing world is
where others are screaming ‘whiter an inspiring one.
than white’, this is brilliantly dis-
arming. Other brands identified by Keith Dinnie
Edwards and Day as displaying con- Book Review Editor