EDITORIAL: Branding offers an edge to those that wish to get ahead

This week Marketing introduces its first 'Branding' page - a

dedicated weekly space that will break key news stories on major brand


It's tempting to say that our increased coverage marks a significant

leap in the sector's evolution - and it's certainly possible to point to

the many design and creative agencies that are currently shifting their

offering from the practical to the strategic.

That shift is little more than an effect, and a recognition that

consultancy offers far greater margins. The cause - and the thinking

behind the page - is that client marketers looking to achieve

competitive advantage increasingly find that the answer lies within

branding territory.

It is here, rather than within advertising, sales promotion or media,

that the key elements of customer need, positioning, differentiation and

speed to market now converge. That hasn't happened this week, or this

month, but over a relatively short period branding has displaced

advertising and media as the crucial communications discipline.

It's not to say that advertising and media agencies can't deliver those

brand solutions. The jostling for 'ownership' of this territory has been

under way for some time, and many design firms have yet to learn that

changing your business stationery to read 'brand consultancy' does not

automatically make you the equal of agency partners that have offered

their clients decades of uninterrupted brand advice.

Yet all the evidence is there to prove that the most interesting

marketing stories around are originating with work done for clients by

the leading brand consultants. Walkers Snacks' latest launch, our lead

story on 'Branding' (page 13), illustrates the point well.

The strength of Walkers' upmarket crisps range 'Sensations' lies in the

work done by Landor to position the brand through naming, design and


Alongside Walkers' proprietary technology for manufacture of the crisps,

the Landor work will give Walkers a boost in the sub-sector and keep

rivals at bay for as long as is possible in this business.

Advertising through Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, featuring Victoria Beckham

('Posh' crisps, you see), is ingenious, but in this instance plays a

crucial supporting role rather than a lead one.

'Branding' continues this magazine's tradition of identifying the most

dynamic and important sectors in the business and creating dedicated

pages to cover them. We look forward to giving Marketing readers the

edge by breaking the major stories on brand strategy, innovation,

identity, packaging and design.

'Branding' is edited by Suzy Bashford. E-mail suzy.bashford@haynet.com.


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