"Google signaled the end of the brand era as consumers, armed with search, no longer need to defer to the brand ..." - page 9, in the 2017 book "The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google," by Scott Galloway. Here you can order it from Amazon.
Way back in the 1930s, P&G, invented branding - or, more accurately, brand management. That simplified two things.
One, it made operations easier for the company because everything associated with the soap, from identity to pricing, was determined through brand management. Yes, that represented the systems approach.
Two, it made purchasing also easier for consumers since they could settle in with that one brand of soap. It was like a marriage. No more having to "date."
As Galloway hammers in his book, that era is over.
Those following the business media know: Consumer brands are in big trouble. Corporations such as P&G and KraftHeinz are struggling. Maybe many of the consumer-brand commercials during the SuperBowl were lackluster because current Don Drapers know they are on short time. The creative drive just isn't there any more.
On page 50, Galloway points out:
"Of the thirteen firms that have outperformed the S&P five years in a row ... only one of them is a consumer brand - Under Armour."
Soon enough the decline of the power of branding could extend to professional services.
Take the legal sector.
Bloomberg has warned that to survive and scale law firms need to differentiate themselves from each other. So far, they haven't been able to. Most of the BigLaw brands are similar, with the exception of Jones Day.
Meanwhile, non-legal brands such as accounting firm PwC are moving in globally on law firms. Essentially, PwC offers quality, cost-efficient flexible legal services. If it looks, functions, and is priced as a generic, maybe it is. And, in selling, PwC has the edge of being trusted by its accounting clients. So, cross-selling doesn't require any heavy lifting.
Increasingly, even those who need a professional service could go directly to search.
The fresh meme of our times is: Google is your homepage (not your website per se). Here is my article on that. The corporation needing anti-trust legal guidance could key that into the search engine. That's how the service provider would be selected.
The new game for both consumer products and professional services providers is to master search, along with making friends with those who select businesses to be listed on Amazon. Amazon may come to be the platform for all purchases.
Sure, there will continue to be talk - lots of talk - about branding. That's the established language of communications firms and marketing agencies. But, when at the point of purchase brand will matter less and less.
They have created a massive ecosystem.
Such an ecosystem has the pull power of search. Here is my article on that.
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