Naomi Klein's book,as it title implies is a criticism to the proliferation of branding strategies launched by business organisations in order to capture customers.The selection lifted from her book outlined the evolution of branding-from its earliest beginning, downfall, recovery, and recent expansion.The concept of branding, according to Klein, began with the company's recognition that production is not the main core of their operations but marketing. The earliest proponents of marketing like Nike and Microsoft stated that manufacturing is only an "incidental" part of their operations and that they are not selling "products" but "images of their brands." This early beginnings started a new age of branding previously homogenous, mass-produced commodities replacing the old shopkeeper who traditionally scoops out generic products like sugar, flour, and cereal in barrels. The popularity of Dr. Brown, Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, and Old Grand Dad became synonymous with the ascent of branded generic commodities.However, the death of branding came one Marlboro Friday as Phillip Morris is threatened by the intense competition from lower priced unbranded competitors. With this happening, a dramatic shift in customers' buying behavior was illustrated-from prestige to price consciousness.The article concluded with the "rebirth" and expansion of branding. This phenomenon was lead by established companies like Body Shop and Starbucks which were able to safeguard and even expand their market share by investing in their brand images. These, together with other successful companies like Nike, began the more rapid proliferation of branded products which does not only market the attributes of the product by created a "concept" to establish an "emotional connection" with its clients.
Naomi Klein concluded that with this age of branding, customers are easily manipulated by branding tactics as marketers can establish a good brand even with the lowliest products. She argued that instead of focusing on production and improving products, companies are embarking and spending time, effort, and money in creating a good brand for which they ask customers for a premium.
The Economist-Who's Wearing the Trousers
The article lifted from the Economist, hold an antagonistic position on Naomi Klein's book. Though it also recognizes the good arguments raced by Klein, the Economist offer a very different view on what the first author referred to as "brand bullies."
Basically, the article presented in the Economist can be summed up into two points-the first one being the exaggeration of Naomi Klein's argument on the power of brands, and the second one on the manipulation of the customers by the branding strategies of the large corporations.
The Economist recognizes the importance of brands in selling a company's products. However, it claims that Klien's article exaggerated the role of branding in the strategies of the large business organizations. The article proved this by citing the case of the companies who spent bulk of financial resources in creating a good brand only to fail. As the company treats a "brand" as one of its primary assets, a brand can also be regarded as liability as it makes a company highly responsible in the damages which it can give to customers.
Customer loyalty is not only rooted on their perception on brand. This is evidenced by the recent research which shows that customers of all ages shift from brand to brand. This also strengthens the claim of the Economist claim that customers are not highly manipulated by company's branding tactics. It is also irrefutable that companies' are spending a lot of money to retain their customers and develop their products to safeguard their brand.
Between the Two Articles
Naomi Klein and the Economist hold two seemingly different arguments about branding, company's performance, and customers. The two articles summarized above show some same