I’ve always thought P&G was full of itself with its “brand manager” concept. I’ve also wondered who ever came up with the idea of “Marketing” as a separate part of any business- if you don’t have everyone on board with the idea that the company is in business to sell something- you shouldn’t be in business.
Marketing in its simplest terms is letting people know about your product or service- and then selling it. At The Next Wave- we call it “Create lust, Evoke Trust” sm – the idea of making people want what you have- and then making sure they trust you to deliver that product or service.
There was a time when companies like P&G paid other companies to collect all mentions of their products- so they could analyze and react “appropriately” to any perceived threat to their precious “brand.” That was well and fine in the old days (pre Google and pre web) but now, all you have to do is a simple Google of your product or service- and you will find that there are a lot of people talking about you- and it may or may not be good.
Case in point: LaCie, a brand of computer peripherals that was at one point tied closely with hard drive maker Quantum. I’ve been buying their products for over 15 years- and was generally happy with them. Then about a year ago, I bought one of their “Big Disks”- a 500GB external RAID enclosure. Two months after the 1-year warranty expired- so did the drive. Luckily, I believe in backing up- and didn’t lose much other than three days of being able to get much done as the restore took time.
A blog I read regularly had posted a note about having problems with his “Big disk”- and I had mentioned that I had had good experiences with LaCie- this was 2 weeks before my crash. You can follow the storyline on the blog- which now has a ton of entries with other people venting about premature failure of their drives.
The point is- anyone now looking to buy a new LaCie Big Disk, will probably find this thread- and change their mind about buying this substandard product. Here is the perfect time and opportunity for a LaCie “brand manager” work at preserving the brand name and image- but so far, it hasn’t happened. In the short sighted world of so many companies, no one has stepped up to volunteer a repair program, warranty extension or a power supply trade in (which is what I believe is the cause of these failures). With the connectivity of the web, and the ease of content publication via blog technology, brand managers need to be actively searching the web and addressing these types of brand bashing (rightfully so in this case) issues to preserve the brand equity.
Companies that hope to survive in this new economy should train their entire workforce in how to spot these types of attacks- and report them to a brand equity preservation specialist- before there is no brand left to manage.

What do you think?