Branding is the key to success

January 25, 2006

Taj I write to you from 30,000 feet on my way home from an 8-day trip across India. Al and I did a series of all-day seminars in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai. (More next week on why cities like Mumbai should never have changed its name from Bombay.)

The events were organized by the Times of India, India’s largest and most prestigious newspaper company, the same organization sponsored my first trip. This was our fourth trip to India.

It is always amazing to me how well-received our marketing ideas are outside the United States. In all three locations, Al and I spoke to packed ballrooms of business executives, entrepreneurs and students.

I doubt we could round up 50 people at home in Atlanta to listen to us all day. Why?

Because outside the United States, marketing is a big deal. Outside the U.S. countries look at America as the marketing capital of the world.

Today success or failure is determined by the power of a company’s brands. The U.S. has a reputation as the best builder of brands. Far better than any other country in the world.

The U.S. has more top global brands than any other country. 12 of the top 15 brands are from America. Brands like Coca-Cola, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Disney, Marlboro and General Electric.

As marketing consultants and authors from the U.S. we command respect and admiration. But here in the U.S. we are practically ignored by top management. Why?

Because in America marketing is not considered important. Management, human relations, customer service are all considered of higher importance that marketing.

Jack Welch, perhaps the most influential manager of our times, wrote a bestselling book called “Winning” that doesn’t mention marketing at all.

Building strong brands is the key to success, in our opinion, not better products or better people.

Of course, Jack Welch didn’t need to build a strong brand when he was running General Electric. GE already was a strong brand, the fourth most valuable brand in the world, according to Interbrand, the leading brand valuation company.

How many of the 100 most valuable brands are from India? None.

That’s why we were invited to present our branding ideas to executives in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai.

Building brands is the key to success. In America, in India and in your company.

Next week, I’ll write more about my ideas for positioning brand India.