(**This post will be a work in progress – somewhere to help me get down my thoughts about this idea and I’d appreciate anyone reading this who has examples to pass them on.)
Brand Vanity: (def) a brand created in the image of the brand guardian, not in the image of the end user.
Tends to be found in FMCG brands. Brand considered not “dynamic” enough by brand owner (ie: they don’t like to reveal the brand they manage to their friends or “other” prospects). This state often then taken advantage of by suppliers who see an opportunity for refresh, overhaul, repackage etc to reflect obvious “sexyness” and “dynamism” of brand owner. Strategy presented to brand owner that strokes brand owners ego. Brand owner then slowly reworks brand to reflect their own values and leaves for new role on even sexier brand.
I can put my hand on my heart that there has only been ONE full-blown example of this in my career, and it was over ten years ago working in another company. Young cool brand manager working in a category used by Mum’s – they wanted something hearty, comforting and familiar. He wanted to give them exotic, challenging and spicy (kind of like how he saw himself).
I am trying to find an example I read about for a wine company about five years ago. The agency thought the brand should be named after the daughter of the wine maker (who was also the marketing manager). The promotional idea was for girls to wear a wig like the marketing managers own “signature” hair style and the brand would be “vivacious” and “cheeky” (or words like that) in reflection of the marketing managers own spunky style. I read this and thought “oh…my…GOD!” It was a text book case of Brand Vanity. I can imagine the pitch. It made me cringe.
Anyone else come across this phenomena?