When I began looking for a blog that I find intriguing, I had no topics or styles in mind. What I stumbled upon was the blog of Rick S. Pulito called ideationz and his most recent blog post about the end of brand exceptionalism.
In this blog post, Pulito discusses how visibility and buzz have become more important than great products and services. Now more than ever, there is a need to create a hype around a product than to have a perfectly efficient assembly line or innovative engineering. This no doubt, is related to the social media explosion which seems to place such emphasis on being socially accepted. Although Pulito does not go into much detail, I think his point is clear: we are in a new age where being liked trumps being the best.
When I think about some of the most successful companies today, I cannot say with ease, or barely at all, that they create the best product of their kind. Take Nike, do you really think that they have the best shoes? That these shoes provide the best possible performance, or are the most comfortable, or the most well-made? I don’t believe it is these notions that compelled almost every student on the Bucknell campus into buying Nike running shoes. It was the brand name, and the buzz, and the idea that if you have Nike shoes you will be accepted by your peers. I’m not insinuating that Nike doesn’t have quality shoes, I merely mean that their success and popularity is not founded on the creation of an exceptional shoe.
What my question to Rick was, how exactly does he suggest companies forge ahead in this changing environment? Should management cutback investing into R&D and spend it all on marketing and PR? For some reason this just doesn’t seem right, that this would be the way to succeed, even in todays world.