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Sometime in the 50s American businessmen started discovering that brand was as valuable as quality or value. Eventually, the mainstream view evolved to something dangerously close to brand dominates all else in business.
These guys are number crunchers who have for decades attempted to quantify the value of brand, mostly so that businesses can figure out what’s working and what’s not.
This book claims that recently (maybe in the last 10 years) something fundamental has shifted in the numbers. The old model is breaking down. Philosophically a true “Black Swans” cannot be anticipated, but a lot of what people call black swans have “a tell”, the model starts breaking a little before the unthinkable occurs. That the model must break before an event that the model forbids can occur is tautological. That the model often starts breaking enough in advance of the “black swan” to offer some warning suggest that we need a new category for unthinkable but slightly predictable events. A “gray swan”.
This is exactly the plot to the movie “Margin Call”.
These authors are saying that for brands, now is that midnight moment in the movie. The change has occurred, the bubble will burst, it can’t be stopped, but it hasn’t happened yet. The drama is what to do before the sun comes up.
Well almost; they hedge their call a little. Specifically they suggest that the data supports the possibility of a new kind of brand that’s a little like an anti-brand. This is of no use to most large cap American companies; they are committed, but it’s instructive for entrepreneurs. The post-brand-bubble brand will be all about change, the promises of future innovation, dynamism, and energy.