The End of Makebelief Branding


Only recently have I learned about P&G’s “Proud Sponsor of Moms” campaign when the company announced to vastly expand its sponsorship from just supporting the US team to a global IOC partnership for the next 5 Olympic Games.

What’s remarkable here is that P&G puts an end to its splendid anonymity as the company behind so many well known brands. And I hold the world’s first and most professional brand management in too high respect to suspect any inferior or tactical reasons for retiring their purebred product branding approach after 150 successful years. That would be reasons like looking for cross-selling opportunities or increasing the company’s negotiation power vis-a-vis big retailers.

My hypothesis is that customers increasingly ask their brands question that are out of the scope of brand management but need to be answered by the company itself. Like questions about environmental responsibility, labour policies, the background of raw materials. People now want to shed light into every corner of a brand. Their trust is now based on transparency, not mystery. And transparency is the antidote of happy-go-lucky branding. No longer can companies hope to hide dark secrets behind Technicolor silkscreen brands.

Which is not an argument against brand showmanship. Only against shows that are put on with the intent to conceal or distract from reality.


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