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  Brandjunkies on the Influence of Brands: The 2008 Brandjunkie Survey Results   Brandjunkies on the Influence of Brands: The 2008 Brandjunkie Survey Results  Jim Thompson  
         
 
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So, just what does a man in Algeria between the ages of 40 and 45 feel about the McDonald's brand? Or what does a woman in the Philippines between the ages of 26 and 30 think of Google's brand? Discover what your fellow brandjunkies have to say about all things branding, from which brand is the world's most inspiring to which one is in most need of a rebrand. Pay close attention—some of the results may surprise you.

What brand would you most like to sit next to at a dinner party? Why?

Dinner parties have several implicit and unspoken rules. Do not, for example, do or say anything that would embarrass yourself, your host, or a fellow guest. Dinner parties are about being civilized, interesting, and engaged. And which brand would brandjunkies prefer to sit next to?

The Top Five: Apple, Virgin, Google, Coca-Cola, Nike

Because I'm sure they'd develop an easier and simpler way to throw a dinner party.

They would have a lot to say about world events, business and what is likely to happen in the future. They could also be quite good fun and have a different view of the world. A good combination of work and non-work conversation.

Never a dull moment—for the good, the new, the bad, the newer again... reinventing itself all along and providing, over and over again, a new perspective on what we thought was carved in stone... Moses of the appetizers!

In the hope that some of that entrepreneurial skill might rub off!

The brand completely shines and radiates youth, fun and happiness.

It's young, rich, successful, a leader, doesn't need to show off about itself, fairly straight forward, efficient, and effective.

I'd like to get to know them better, or at least hop into bed with them for a quickie.

It has been around for a long time so has lots of history plus is truly an icon so must have some great stories to tell.

It is very American, is a constant in society, represents family, strong values, and has seen everything.

The whole concept of the brand inspiring people to achieve the best. And being an optimist, this is what I'd like to be associated with!

Because of their ability to change with the times and still remain relevant, and make celebrity spokespeople work for them, not against them.

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Trends:
Apparently, for brandjunkies, the most desirable characteristics in a dining partner are sex appeal, intelligence, sense of humor, celebrity status, and of course taste—both on a literal and figurative level. Picture Steve Jobs wearing Victoria's Secret but smelling like Chanel while drinking a Coke on Comedy Central (all mentioned as responses).

Brandjunkies are also, well, economical—but at least honestly so. Many chose to bring brands that would pay the bill, from American Express to Oprah. Our readers also seem to enjoy plenty of booze with their dinner, as these brands made the guest list: Absolut, Bacardi, Black Label, Budweiser, Ciroc Vodka, Dom Perignon, Guinness, Heineken, Jack Daniel's, Johnnie Walker, Kaapzight Wine, Laurent-Perrier, Moët, Mont Blanc, Smirnoff, and Tanqueray. Cheers!

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What brand, if sent back 100 years, would have the biggest impact on the course of history? How?

Ah, the time-traveling brandjunkie dilemma. Where modern branding intermingles with history and creates a different, perhaps unrecognizable, present. Crank up your time machine and bring your branding expertise.

The Top Five: Apple, Microsoft, Google, Coca-Cola, Ford

It's all about putting humans first when approaching technology. I can only imagine what Apple might have achieved if it existed 100 years ago.

With Steve Jobs' acumen, he could convince skeptics why and how personal computing would revolutionize all that we did or thought about the time we were starting to build automobiles and mobilize the country. If the whole of Apple were transported back to the early 1900s, we might have eliminated our dependency on foreign oil already, and alternative energy sources would be mainstream, not alternative.

As a brand idea, Apple 100 years ago, would have connected the idea of simultaneously creating a need and the matching product to fulfill that need, rather than a need creating itself and companies racing to create the answer.

LOOK WHAT IT HAS DONE IN 20 YEARS.

Cause Gates would have figured out how to clone us by now and computers would run the world. We still have a few years left.

It would completely alter the course of history with its commitment to free and universal access to information.

I would like to see if they would survive 100 years ago and what else the brainiacs would turn their attention to! I think we would be in flying cars by now if the Google Guys had 100 years to work!

The first mega brand in the world (referring to consumption brands, the first "brand" was religion/God/Jesus...). Coca Cola was the first brand to establish a deep emotional relationship with people, all over the world. It was also the first mega brand to prove that brand has no boundaries and can reach millions of people all around the world.

The evolution of Coke has grown so powerful that if sent back with its current cachet, it would rule the world more than it already does.

This brand still defines a new way of life in North America.

It was there 100 years ago and it did change history by giving once isolated people an easy way to go more than 10 miles from the places they were born.

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Trends:
Brandjunkies want to help. All of them saw time traveling as an opportunity to improve the human race's present circumstances. For most that meant introducing our ancestors to powerful, educational, innovative, and healing brands such as BBC News, Wikipedia, NASA, and Johnson & Johnson.

An American woman between the ages of 46 and 50 managed to comment on going green and modern day superficiality with these words praising Aveda: "The idea that beauty and nature are inseparable would have saved us a WHOLE lot of trouble now."

Others took aim at ridding the past of brands they see as purveyors of modern-day social ills such as obesity and cancer by targeting fast food giant McDonald's and cigarette manufacturer Marlboro. Still others would use the opportunity to redraw current geopolitical lines with combat-related brands AK-47, Uzi (submachine gun), and Lockheed Martin.

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What brand that no longer exists would you resurrect? Why?

Yes, brandjunkies, an unfortunate reality in life is that brands die all the time, and in a myriad of ways.

But do you believe in life after death? Well, we presented our readers with the chance to bring a dead brand back to life. Here's what they had to say.

The Top Five: None, PanAm, Atari, TWA, Cingular

Leave what's dead, dead… it died for a good reason.

If it doesn't exist anymore it's because it couldn't keep up with the competition and customer demands.

When a brand dies, it's either a function of poor management, poor funding, or a lack of relevance. In any case, if society can't keep them alive I'd be inclined to let them go.

It represented some sort of glamour that is lost nowadays in the aviation industry. From Tokyo to Rio de Janeiro, from NY to London. It's just a lame experience. Pan Am recalls in me an idea of comfortable flying with affordable prices.

Generations of travelers have used Pan Am to travel the world. We think of it as a time when flying was still romantic and men took off their hats when entering the aircraft. I think that the younger generation does not know or remember its downfall, just the positive stories that are left. If resurrected, I would place it next to Virgin and give them a run for their money.

With a little system modification, it could be a perfect and solid competition for new boom brands such as Wii, because of its simplicity. I remember my dad bought me one in 1983, and he was so amused with Atari because he could play with me at the same level. That's the clue for Wii's hit, and Atari could rebirth its success in order to compete in the family industry.

Ok, it still exists—sort of. I love the brand imagery and associate Atari with a lot of joy in my youth. I'm surprised someone hasn't bought the brand and tried a resurrection, because I think a lot of other Gen Xers love Atari, too.

Trans World Airlines—it was an inspirational brand in my youth. That feeling of impending adventure was a fabulous feeling I cannot forget or replicate.

I'm nostalgic for that period in the history of aviation.

It connected with people in a way that few technology brands do and brought a humanity to cellular phones and the brand experience not seen before except in the UK with Orange.

It was a great brand that differentiated their service from the establishment.

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Trends:
We noticed that many brandjunkies took liberty with this question and explained how certain brands still in existence were, well, as some put it, "dead to me." Sorry Zenith, Texaco, British Rail, and IBM. People by nature don't like change, and they certainly don't appreciate their favorite companies being bought out.

Others wrote about brands that they believed to be dead, but which are, in fact, very much alive—Howard Johnson and Fresca, for example. Being considered dead is certainly a disturbing challenge for any brand.

Age also played an important role in the responses. The younger generation answered that they hadn't experienced any memorable brand deaths yet or chose tech-related brands such as Netscape and Cingular. The older generations would bring back everything from the Marathon bar and Oldsmobile to Canadian Airlines and the Commodore.

Sadly, some of our brandjunkies were on deathwatch, standing by their brands until the end. Our condolences to Polaroid and Northwest Airline brandjunkies.

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Which brand do you want to argue with? Why?

Arguments are often the catalyst for growth, innovation, and inspiration—arguments involving brands aren't any different. So when given the opportunity, brandjunkies reveled at the chance to ask their favorite targets the tough questions.

The Top Five: Microsoft, Apple, None, Coca-Cola, McDonald's

They must rethink their values to make them match with their most influential opinion leaders: IT staff and professionals.

Because they are product-driven, instead of customer-driven.

They are so widespread and we all use their products, yet they are such frustrating products to use. Very little innovation for the size of the company.

I think they exploit their customers' good will to extremes. How Apple gets away with it, that's beyond me!

Why must you introduce a 'new' product every 3 months!!

I don't care enough about a brand that I would want to argue with it... I have too many other choices of brands that suit me—why waste my time.

I have no need to. I just move on.

Because it's impact on the health of millions with regards to sugar, aspartame, and phenylalanine needs to be called into account.

Too many products, too many messages.

Even if their customers want more healthy fast food, and they are willing to pay for it, McDonald's doesn't seem to take the needs seriously enough. Why? There is an unmarked position waiting out there...

Their branding success is brilliant but I can't bear going to remote places in the world like Fiji and seeing one nestled amongst the coconut trees. It's wrong—go back to America!

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Trends:
Brandjunkies hold their brands accountable for their actions.

Despite the popular saying "It's nothing personal, it's business," we all know that business—especially the branding business—is indeed, often, very personal. Branding is all about relationships, and brandjunkies take their relationships with brands seriously.

The most common sentiments behind the desire to argue were:

Disillusionment—for example, over American car manufacturers and "their arrogance in thinking they know what we want."

Disdain—at how, for instance, British Airways, "one of the best and biggest airlines in the world [can] always makes me late, tired, and grumpy."

Disgust—for companies such as Shell Oil. "I am tired of the patronizing ads that try and prove how environmentally correct they are…"

And the final trend…

Dismissal—for the idea in general. "I have no need to [argue]. I just move on."

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Which brand inspires you the most?

It is no secret that different people are inspired by different things; yet, for most, being inspired means—more or less—the same thing: becoming motivated to be a better person, whether that be on a personal, professional, or spiritual level.

Top Five Answers: Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola, Google, Starbucks

I believe that, overall, they make beautiful products that are both inspiring and highly usable.

It's one of the few brands that are managed so well—its approach to design, its ease of use, its selective communications strategy and innovation—that every touch point and product accurately represents what it should represent. It creates desire and mystery.

It has created a revolution within the market and has become more of an addiction for many consumers. They deliver great quality to the consumer and are constantly creating innovative products.

I'm still working out and playing basketball at age 47. I only buy Nike shoes and gear. Because their advertising over the years has inspired me to keep at it... and their stuff is well-made.

They find new and exciting ways to speak to the emotions of games, to look for ways to keep it entertaining yet informative and design products around our lives. They also have a singular voice across all their products, thus creating a very cohesive voice. When you see any Nike ad... you know it's a Nike ad before you see the logo. That's so simple yet so deceptively difficult to pull off.

They have a continuing ability to connect with consumers across various generations and to make them feel good about Coca-Cola's product lines.

One of those few brands which have been around for over 100 years and have evolved across generations. They have managed to retain the core essence of the brand of 'a refresher for the thirsty.' In spite of competition, the brand has retained uniqueness & saliency.

Google inspires me because of their foundations in being truly customer centric—changing the search game by developing a search engine that gave users what they were looking for. They take their customers seriously and engage with them to co-create via Google Labs. I think this is very brave and confident without being arrogant.

Without Google, my right arm would feel as if it has been amputated. I know some people harbor conspiracy theories about Google taking over the planet, but I would happily entrust Google with almost anything!

Although I think this brand has taken the wrong road to expansion in recent years, I still think their ability to transcend borders and become instantly popular is an amazing phenomenon of contemporary culture. As our society becomes increasingly global, Starbucks has become the global brand that tends to please a new global palette. China has traditionally been a sea of tea drinkers. Yet in Taipei there is a busy Starbucks everywhere. It is not just coffee, it is Starbucks.

The home away from home because the drinks are always the same, the cozy atmosphere is always the same, and they truly live and breathe their environmental and sustainable development commitments, all the way to their cups, napkins, and free used coffee for your plants. They've managed to turn sustainable development into a lasting business model (a profitable one too), while being funky, fashionable and making their customers believe they should pay a premium for all this.

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Trends:
When explaining which brands inspire them and why, brandjunkies demonstrated a clear affinity for functionality, aesthetics, tenacity, and purpose. Not a surprise considering that branding is a blend of art, design, science, and willpower.

Ferrari inspires many brandjunkies because of its "Amazing engineering, which is near to perfection. Consistency in all aspects of 4 Ps (product, pricing, promotion, and placement). The brand is a phenomenon!"

Diesel clothing was admired because it is "incredibly imaginative, cleverly cool, and eternally premium." Innocent brand fruit drinks is highly regarded, "Because they launched successfully into a highly competitive market through the use of simple wit and wisdom."

Socially aware brands such as Dove received praise because their marketing campaign "talks to real women and not skinny models."

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If you were to describe yourself as being a brand, what brand would you be? Why?

We all know the saying, "You are what you eat." Well, you are also the brands that you are inspired by. Every time you connect with a brand—or go all out and purchase it—you're saying something about yourself. Here is what brandjunkies had to say about themselves as brands.

Top Five Answers: Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola, Virgin, BMW

Smart, well designed with some history of bad and good decisions. Cutting edge in the markets in which they choose to play in but do not dream of being a superpower, just best in their game. Like me :-)

A bit geeky, but simply elegant, although I don't like the fact that Apple seems to be getting a little more of an ego of late. That will eventually bite them in the a$$.

Because I like to come at things differently. I chose to 'think different.' This is what I offer my clients: a different way to look at and think about their business.

I love being active and feeling alive, Nike is all about pushing yourself to your outermost limits and taking care of yourself.

I live the 'Just Do it' credo and I think I can project this way of living.

Coke is always there. Its presence in your life is positive, uplifting, and fresh. It maintains its identity without relying on shock or 'edgy' extremes.

Coca-Cola comes across as a cool, chilled out brand that is for everybody. It is hugely popular even though their adverts are rare to see on TV [in the UK]. I like that it portrays a sort of naive innocence even though I know what a huge corporation it is. I think the font associated with it is funky and seems modern (still!). I don't even drink Coke but I feel that the brand reflects my personality somewhat more than others. I was particularly impressed with the newest advert I saw lately at the cinema that was based around the computer game 'Grand Theft Auto,' pure genius.

I'm a little bit subversive. I think 'conventional wisdom' is an oxymoron. I have eclectic tastes and my interests are varied. I'm trustworthy, intelligent, and fun. I think Virgin shares a lot of my values. It's about seeing the world a certain way and more about lifestyle than a specific product or service.

Because they don't accept the status quo. Their philosophy is to do as well as the next guy but with better value; the brand innovates and values its people.

It is innovative, with a clear personality and has a desire to experience the pleasures of life.

Because BMW is trustworthy, yet stylish and sophisticated.

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Trends:
It's always fun to get a glimpse into how people see themselves, and it appears brandjunkies have a healthy sense of self-esteem, because just about everyone chose brands that exhibit the most desirable qualities.

Yet it is compelling to witness how different people see the same brands differently. For instance, one brandjunkie from the US, a female, 46-50, said that she is most like Amazon.com because it is "reliable and eager to help," while another female brandjunkie from Argentina, 31-35, chose Amazon because of "the mix of strong organizational skills and intellectual content."

Others were more in tune with their perspectives. One brandjunkie from Sweden, male, 46-50, described Porsche as "'Performance, elegance, passion, powerful... helps to drive one. Is my car an extension of me, I like to think so!" A brandjunkie from the US, male, 41-45, said, "'Fast, sleek, expensive, hedonistic—what we should all aspire to be in our next life." Other males in the same age range from India, Saudi Arabia, and Spain had similar feelings for the brand.

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If you could rebrand any brand, what brand would it be?

Once again brandjunkies are being called upon to offer their most helpful and insightful branding industry advice. When the occasion to rebrand brands presented itself, our readers couldn't type fast—OR LOUDLY—enough.

Top Five Answers: Microsoft, USA, Ford, Coca-Cola, Pepsi

What once was the forefront college-campus brand has lost its edge and its avant-garde appeal. Not a complete rebrand but a definite rethink of some core brand values and how these are communicated.

It's gone from innovative and bold to stodgy and a follower. But rebranding is only one step since it really needs a major shift in how it thinks.

Microsoft elected to brand its online services and apps with the Windows brand—a brand that while strong and impactful on the enterprise and b2b level, is your father's Oldsmobile to the millennials.

Its personality and values are unclear and inconsistent with the past; it's not likeable at the moment and doesn't garner the respect or interest of others (for the record, I'm an American).

Being American used to be a good thing. We were the envy of the world. Anything 'American' was coveted worldwide. Now, our reputation is in the tank. American goods have lost their value, and our economy is in shambles.

Oddly it was the first one to come to mind. I'm not a huge car fan, but in general it just seems like a dying brand in need of help. The company and the brand have been plagued by safety scandals and auto industry woes. They haven't kept up with trends toward more fuel-efficient vehicles, nor have they injected any life into the brand in terms of marketing. Conversely, Cadillac has completely rejuvenated a brand that was once only for grandparents and mobsters. The Ford name has such strong history, it needs a facelift to keep the brand an integral part of US history.

Stop branding yourselves like some generic international manufacturing company. Stop looking like another Toyota/GM. Sell the European luxury brands. Axe the superfluous American ones. Ford industrialized/motorized the world and created 'the car of the people.' The common experience of freedom and mobility of so many generations wouldn’t be possible without Ford's invention of the assembly line and the affordable car. Embrace heritage and tradition. Focus on core brand. Maybe some type of populist brand message? 'Because of our heritage, we believe in everyone’s universal right to have access to the mobility and freedom that our cars give you. Our tradition is to build desirable, high quality, affordable cars for the people. Empower yourself with a Ford.'

It's everyone's idea of the classic 'brand' with so much history and equity, but it's been driven into the ground in recent years.

It needs a healthier positioning.

It needs to be to be more healthy.

It was once very recognized in South Africa but nowadays it's very dormant. It had potential and was really a big competitor against Coke and think it's about time that Coke gets tough competition again.

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Trends:
Apparently, many brandjunkies have been thinking about this question for quite a while, because the enthusiasm is palpable in their words. Brandjunkies do examine branding closely, so when they see something that doesn't work, it arouses a response. For example, a female in Thailand, 26-30, answered bluntly: GM—U KNOW WHY. Plenty of other brandjunkies answered in ALL CAPS. A male from Greece between the ages of 31-35 had this to say, or scream, about Nokia: YOU CAN DO SO MANY THINGS WITH YOUR NOKIA MOBILE PHONE BUT NOBODY KNOWS THAT...

And we should note that brandjunkies have an active sense of humor when it comes to rebranding, as evidenced by the following responses.

One cynical brandjunkie, a 36-40 female from Belgium, answered with this: Mankind—totally overrated.

A gentleman from the United Kingdom, age 31-35, had this to say: Victoria Beckham—because she is worth it.

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What brand can you not live without? Why?

In the US, 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. Though human beings have a hard time staying committed to each other, many brandjunkies have no problem committing to the brands they love the most—through health and sickness, for better or worse, through product functionality to internal brand alignment.

Top Five Answers: Apple, None, Coca-Cola, Google, Starbucks

I have become so entrenched in the 'Apple way of life,' I now feel I couldn't get by without my MacBook, iPod, and associated software. As a student, being 'connected' is a high priority for me, so having my laptop with me is important. Though I appreciate that my laptop or my mp3 player could essentially be substituted for another brand with no detriment to me, Mac offers a unique interface which I am comfortable with and also reflects a certain way of life which I feel I can associate with.

I have always loved Apple, through the tough and great times. They have been the underdog brand, the hot hip brand; I love their design flair, cachet, cool, cutting edge. It would be a dull place without Apple products.

It's the only one I can think of that I truly couldn't replace—in work or in entertainment. With any other brand that I love, there's some other one I can turn to if it disappeared. But not Apple.

Who cares about brand brainwashing?

I think that a non-branded life is possible. I am not that type of brand-addict that I can not live if a certain brand diminishes.

It's the most famous beverage brand in all over the world including such countries as Lithuania. Moreover, it's not just a drink but also a lifestyle.

It is the brand that has been next to me since I was born. I love the brand and like its products.

It's part of my routine every time I go online. It's the first site I visit every time I log on and it's the only website I go to when I need information.

I use it daily to look up information that I need for work and information that I want or need for my personal life. I also use it for my email.

A living example of my lifestyle and credos, and that such commitment to sustainable development can be a total success... when everyone adheres to it internally.

I love the coffee and the store atmosphere—and it paid for my masters degree when I was working at Starbucks in the UK.

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Trends:
Variety abounds, and so does like-mindedness. From peanut butter to personal computers and furniture to fruit drinks, brandjunkies have brands that they just can't live without, for some reason or other. What makes a brand indispensable to one's own life? According to our survey, we all have our own reasons, and some of us share those reasons.

A young man, 21-25, in the Netherlands said he couldn't live without Rolex because "It gives me status." On the other side of the world, a gentleman from Korea, 31-35, feels similarly about the Rolex brand: "Gives me status and finally makes me confident and peaceful."

A female in the US, 41-45, answered Tide detergent because she "Love[s] the smell. Provides memories of my mother." Yes, brands can be part of important bonds. Another woman from the US, 26-30, says of J. Crew, "It's classic. Timeless and reliable—like a good friend."

A gentleman from Spain, 31-35, offered a very practical answer: "Camper Shoes—It makes the only shoes I can wear."

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What brand is most likely to revolutionize the branding industry in the next five years? Why?

With all of the creative souls and forward-thinking minds in the branding industry, a probe into the future regarding which brand will revolutionize the business was unavoidable.

Top Five Answers: Apple, Google, Doesn't exist yet, Facebook, Nike

Apple has always been a leader and innovator. Their strong use of good design has forged a desire that people become associated with the brand, regardless of the possible existence of a superior product in the market! Apple re-invent themselves successfully and truly lead the branding bandwagon.

If they don't get too cocky… Apple speaks to young people... and people who want to be young... which is everyone.

They continually prove to the world how to not only build a brand, nurture new brands but also tie them all together with the Apple mystique and panache. People know when you talk about Apple you're talking about solid, useful, consumer products.

Since birth the Google brand has grown from 0 to multi-billions. Its worldwide coverage and continual investment and acquisition of new-techs etc. will increase. I see the tech revolution (that has already begun) ending with a leader at the helm.

Google is the most widely known brand on the Internet. By this virtue it can be safely said that Google is THE BRAND of the world, both offline and online. The Internet has now become an inseparable part of our daily lives and will continue to be so. So, anyone, or any thing for that matter, which has got a good recall value and delivers well on the service part will set the trend for the others to follow. Google has now transformed from being just a search engine to offering various services and it keeps innovating year after year. It is this constant reinvention and innovation that keeps Google at the top. So, Google is the brand to watch out for. With its constant reinvention, maybe we can expect something extraordinary from Google in the years to come.

The world and communications is moving so fast. A year ago, who would have said Facebook would overtake MySpace as the social network to be on?

Do we ever see these things coming?

Facebook is going to continue to develop as a brand but also be used as an avenue for other brands to bond with consumers. The only thing holding the brand back would be lack of a value system with which the consumer can relate to and appreciate. Recently, Facebook has floundered in the area of trust, but could revolutionize the world by focusing on open dialogue with consumers to chart its path.

Because the sudden and rapid collapse of their business will remind the world that Web 2.0-based brands do not survive in the real world.

They've been at the forefront so far, and if any brand has the stature to make us rethink branding strategy, it's Nike.

Because it seamlessly has taken on targets in the most intimate levels of households—professional and amateur demographics. This brand has the potential to transcend with its diversified portfolio, while maintaining its focus on products and customer loyalty.

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Trends:
Though the answers differed, the vast majority of responses had one thing in common: technology. From Samsung to Sony and from YouTube to MySpace and Facebook, most brandjunkies believe that the next branding revolution is going to be—somehow—digital.

Whether it is a yet unknown Web 6.0 social networking platform or a savvy established brand able to connect future values with emerging technologies, it's difficult to predict how branding and technology will continue to merge in the future. Perhaps the revolution will hardly be noticeable, as one American brandjunkie, 61-65, puts it: "No brand is capable of such an achievement. There will be incremental progress from established brands and new brands alike."

In the meantime, the year 2013, and the answer to our question, is getting closer every day.

What brand do you think is truly (going) "green"? Why?

The branding industry is abuzz with the marketplace's focus on global warming and protecting the environment. So, when asked about which brands were really serious about sustainable development, brandjunkies offered a resounding, and—perhaps you may want to sit down for this—surprising consensus. Who is really going green? Answer: NOBODY.

Top Five Answers: None, Toyota, BP, Body Shop, Honda

Companies will pretend they are environmentally aware (e.g. products that may be recycled, reducing carbon emissions, contributing funds to drought relief) except they still have, primarily, only their own interests in mind and are therefore never truly green.

All brands are out to please their stockholders—that's the only 'green' direction they are truly focused in.

There are attempts at establishing green credentials—but these attempts are happening in silos within brands and companies. Very often, the 'green' aspect of the business is far outweighed by the 'non-green' areas. For example: a retailer will have an extensive organic category, but half of the produce is flown in from halfway across the world—the carbon footprint and food miles far outweigh the benefits of supporting organic produce. We have a long way to go before brands are fully engaged with 'going green.'

Most Japanese companies adopted 'green' business practices a full decade before many in North America or Europe. Out of the top Japanese brands, Toyota seems to lead the rest in positioning themselves as eco-conscious with cars such as the Prius.

How ironic that a car-maker is the first green brand that comes to mind! With their introduction of the Prius and subsequent improvements on that and other models, there is little reason to question that Toyota is truly 'moving forward.'

Its innovation of 'bio-diesel' fuel product. It's the brand's objective and aim to cut down on gas emissions that are affecting the environment and adding to global warning.

Because they realize as a petroleum company they would eventually have to change by becoming an energy company, and by focusing on green issues they have stolen a lead on their competitors. They are only embracing green issues for long term profit, though.

They have always advocated earth-friendly processes and source their materials in a sustainable way while benefiting local communities.

They have lived up to their vision of supporting a green policy through the whole production chain, from source to shop.

They are developing their own hydrogen refueling stations for home use, along with already having the Clarity FCX on the road in Southern California, testing it in real world situations. Honda has been among the greenest car companies going for years now, and only their fastest quasi-street legal motorcycles aren't what you would consider green.

Only because its two new alternative-fueled vehicle technologies are helping to reposition the company from its status as environmental villains alongside all other automotive manufacturers, into tree-hugging custodians of the biosphere.

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Trends:


Obviously, the dominating trend in these responses is skepticism; however, that skepticism is tempered by a pronounced sense of hope expressed by brandjunkies. And that should be encouraging for everyone in the industry.

While shady marketing campaigns and misleading advertisements that make claims of "going green" are seemingly everywhere, brandjunkies are paying attention to the truth, and that truth will set them free. Over time, the lawless landscape of "going green" will become better regulated and measured, and companies who dabble in greenwashing will have to "come clean" in front of everyone.

For now it is up to brandjunkies to speak the truth and prepare for the future. The "going green" movement will certainly have its day, and brandjunkies—by speaking the truth as they have in our survey—are going to lead the way.

The Method Behind the Madness

From February 24 to March 9, 2008, nearly 2,000 brandchannel readers—74 percent of which hail from the marketing profession—in 107 different countries answered our 10-question online survey and identified one brand that best fit the criteria for each inquiry. Respondents could recognize any brand they felt appropriate, as a shortlist of brands was not given.

The brandchannel staff would like to thank all of our fellow brandjunkies across the globe that participated in our survey and contributed their valuable time and insights.

 
Check back next week for a follow-up article featuring in-depth analysis and commentary on the brandjunkie survey results!    

[31-Mar-2008]

 
  
  

Jim Thompson is the editor of brandchannel.com.

     
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Brandjunkies on the Influence of Brands:
The 2008 Brandjunkie Survey Results

 
 your readers are obviously really just a bunch of followers...how unimaginitive 
- March 31, 2008
 
 I agree.

I'm working with market surveys professionally myself and completed the survey just for fun. I thought the length, versatility and visual design of the survey was below average. That's probably what prompted people to answer coca-cola on almost every question... 
Per E Asberg, Key Account Manager, Nepa.se - March 31, 2008
 
 Does there exist a world apart from the United States of America? Do we all know just the companies (brands) listed here? "Hello, anybody out there?" 
- March 31, 2008
 
 The low percentages suggest that the concept of branding is just that, a concept. Despite what people think of a company or product, that does not translate to loyalty or purchases. Of course brand professionals will argue this to the death, that's their job. A simple look at people who are not engaged in the branding industry, ie, the general public, purchase at whim and will settle for something different just for the sake of being different and wanting to try new things. Sure ad campaigns motivate this, but friends and family have just as much impact. I owned a GMC pickup for 12 years with no trouble. Then I bought a dodge because I liked the way they looked. Was that "branding" on Dodge's part, or just good design that appealed to me? My mother enjoyed the care at local eye clinic, but went to a competitor because she was curious. I've built a business around branding, but cannot get a grip on the fact the public is not plugged in the way the brand industry thinks they are. 
Troy McQuillen, President, McQuillen Creative Group - March 31, 2008
 
 I just came here looking for this survey from msnbc and I must say your website is hard to navigate. Having said that, I think that companies do appreciate at times some of these honest opinions. After all, if there is something that can make your business better then listen to the people that are your user-base. 
UtahLuxury.com, Owner, Utah Luxury - March 31, 2008
 
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