Here are some excerpts from the Ries article:
- "What makes a powerful automobile brand today is not innovation, but a narrow focus on an attribute or a segment of the market."
- "Innovations outside of a brand’s core position can undermine a brand."
- "Most brands don't need innovations; they need focus. They need to figure out what they stand for and then what they need to sacrifice to get there."
Mr. Ries is so wrong on this one.Mootee counters:
What the automobile industry needs today is NOT a narrow focus or an attribute or another brand. They have been doing that for decades and look at Detroit today.Really? When I ponder the Detroit automobile industry, I think "scattered", not "focused". This counterexample from Mootee is not convincing. As a matter of fact, it tends to support Ries's point.
Next, Mootee cites Samsung as an example of company that innovated outside its focus and thereby established a powerful brand:
The company focused on product innovation that was not limited by their brand, and saw a meteoric rise in sales and brand value in just a few years and is not a serious threat to big boys like Sony.Maybe. I don't know much about Samsung.
But I don't think you measure the power of a brand by the success of the company. A company can be hugely successful despite a weak brand, and vice-versa. I don't think you measure the power of a brand by mere recognition, either. Brand recognition is only one ingredient of a brand's power.
How many people go out and buy a Samsung as a result of their perceptions of the brand? The Samsung brand means nothing to me; I buy Samsung products only when their commoditized products come out on top in my feature and price comparisons.
Finally, Mootee avers:
Brand strategy and marketing can only give them a Botox, innovation brings new life.But Ries hasn't argued against innovation. He has merely argued that innovation is most effective when it establishes or reinforces a focused brand position.