Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Brand Graveyard

When everyone in the world talks about winning and eulogizes success, here is a book that prefers to showcase failures. Brand Failures, the book by Matt Haig, changes the perspective of success by completely entertaining the reader as it takes him through the 100 Biggest Branding Mistakes of All Time.

Brand Failures is an amusing narration of how the biggest brands failed to crack the market. What is further interesting is that these companies at fault are not just small scale enterprises but global giants whose managerial decisions have fallen flat. The ‘honored’ list includes Coca Cola, Pepsi, Mc Donalds, Virgin, Harley Davidson, British Airways to name a few.

Matt Haig’s hall of failure is categorized into Classic Failures, Idea Failures, Extension Failures, PR Failures, Cultural Failures, People Failures, Rebranding Failures, Internet and technology failures and Tired Brands.

The book divulges the brand with the ultimate bad idea of smokeless cigarettes, classic failure of Ford Edsel, Barbie’s boyfriend Ken’s ‘coming out of closet’, boo.com’s spectacular failure in dot.com era amongst many more.

‘Cultural Failures’ forms the most enrapturing read. Matt Haig has collected classic cases of cultural misfits. To quote one- Scandinavian vaccum manufacturer Electrolux came up with the slogan, ‘Nothing sucks like an Electrolux’ in United States.

Through his engrossing writing style and well researched cases Matt Haig also deconstructs the brand myths such as ‘good products always sell, strong brands are built on advertising, if it is new it will sell and big companies always have brand success.’

The saying, “Learn from the failures of others”, gets further restated but only after one has had a good laugh on the failure. In the end of each case Matt Haig has listed what one could learn from these brand failures. In these learnings Matt Haig helps the reader to analyze what really went wrong. The book also mentions the bounce back of a few companies who took the bitter with the sweet.

The book is a compelling read for all those who love creating and talking about brands. It is highly entertaining and gives fascinating facts about ‘Branding’ which one realizes after reading is no piece of cake. The author though has cautioned in the introduction-“Don’t have nightmares.”

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