Author: Emmanuel Obeta
Publisher: DevaineBrands Consults
Reviewer: Kalu Okoronkwo
The subject of brand is one that has defied known conjectures and school of thoughts as there are many professionals and teachers alike who claim expertise in that area. Nevertheless, the subject has remained elusive to so many even among those who by providence are acclaimed pundits in the world of marketing and advertising, believed to be the primary constituent of brand.
The dearth of indigenous literature on brands as it is prevalent in other professions such as law, medicine, engineering among others has also elevated the common confusion as to what could constitute adequate brand knowledge.
It is based on this premise that the publication of the book Optimal Brand Performance (Why some brands succeed and others fail), has become timely. The author highlights the need for companies, organizations and individuals alike to have a good understanding of the concept of brand which according to the author has “developed and elixir status where every success and failure of the organization and its products and services are attributed to the brand”
For easy reading and understanding of the book “Optimal Brand Performance”, Emmanuel Obeta, distilled the kernel of Brand as a subject noting that Brand Management , like every other field of endeavor , is made up of several building blocks, that if assembled in the right order and proportion, will result in the building of a strong edifice or field of study.
The book divided into 10 chapters, started off with a foreword written by Justie Odie Nnabuko, Professor of Marketing and Director, Institute of Maritime Studies, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC).
The first chapter of the book provided the reader with different perspectives and definitions of a brand. Obeta traced the origin of brand which started from the ancient Egypt. He went ashore fishing in different oceans to get all sides and perspectives of brand from different experts globally in order to broaden the understanding of the reader. Of note is the author’s clarification that though communication is necessary to create a brand, it is far from being sufficient, quoting Kapferer to justify the assertion. He however ended the chapter with an explanation that a composite brand definition must contain all the key elements outlined in the chapter to be representative.
The author in the second chapter of the book brought to the fore, the distinction and relationship between products and brands. This has remained the common conflict in understanding the concept of brand.
This is also where expertise and professionalism is needed in teaching the subject of brand management in Mass Communication or Marketing classes. Most often, writers and authors confuse products with brands blurring the several distinguishing factors between them. The author charismatically distinguished the two concepts which oftentimes are in water tight compartments. Quoting Marty Neumeire in his definition of brand, the author laid out what brand is not: “not logo, an identity or product”.
He said brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or organization”. To further differentiate products from brands, the author categorised brands into different forms: Disruptive brands, Conscious brands, Service brands, Innovative brands, Value brands, Performance brands, Luxury brands, Style brands and Experience brands.
The author argued that product will take some time and pass through some process before it becomes identified with some cherished images, symbols, perceptions, feelings by the consumers or before it connotes an idea or ideal that is cherished or held dear by the consumers, which automatically makes it a brand.
The author with a note of finality while distinguishing brands and products affirmed that while products are instantly meaningful, brands become meaningful over time.
Chapter three of the book x-rayed one of the most talked about brand topics in analysing a brand- the Brand Architecture. Chapter four provided the reader with detailed explanation about brand identity and why brands fail. This also spilled over to chapter five to examine in details other factors that make brands fail.
Chapter six discussed differentiation in details giving the reader step by step mechanics of differentiation. Brand positioning, a key component of branding was also extensively discussed in chapter seven while brand analytics and measurement was discussed in chapter nine.
In Chapter 10 and the final chapter, the author’s case study of the Nigerian police was brought to the fore. Under the title, “A brand in need of rebranding”, the author justified the reason for the study of the Nigerian police in terms of its ubiquity and impact on every resident of Nigeria whether in the urban or rural areas. The author while analyzing the Nigeria Police brand as a case study leveraged on the scenario to talk about rebranding in detail.
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The gradual progression of the book from the definition of brand to the eventual definition of the variegated brand management dimensions gives a better understanding of the book’s direction to the reader.
The brevity of the chapters shows that the author is not set out to make his subject boring. He must have understood how difficult it could be for professionals and students alike to understand the branding concepts, hence, he makes a deliberate effort to simplify the terms, using simple language and explanatory sentences.
Also, the author uses images to illustrate the subjects discussed in each chapter. This makes the book visually appealing and attractive to read for professionals and students.
In conclusion, I am therefore recommending this book to the general public especially professionals and those in academics who will want to advance their calling in the areas such as; Marketing Communications, Brand Management, Media and Public Relations (PR) based on the author’s authority in writing this book.
Obeta is an accomplished and results oriented Senior Consultant with over 30 years extensive experience leading corporate marketing, communications, brand management, leadership and strategic operations for multi-million dollar companies like; Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, Guinness-Diego, Globacom, First Bank, UBA Plc and Federal Inland Revenue Services. He holds a Master’s of Science Degree M.Sc Marketing and B.Sc (Hon.) Mass Communications and several International and continental work experiences and exposure across Africa, Europe, Asia, the U.S.A and Canada.
His authority in writing this work remains unquestionable with time tested exposure in brand management working with successful global brands hence the experience he shares in this work is beyond classroom knowledge but bothers on practical professional touch.
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