Do We Choose the Best Brand or One That Is Simply OK?


As marketers our aim is to position our brand so that it is the most preferred to our target audience. We researchers are forever asking people which brand is better or best. Rory Sutherland, the vice-chairman of Ogilvy & Mather, wrote an interesting article in the MRS magazine “IMPACT” in July. He argues that people don’t necessarily choose the “best” brand or a least they don’t think of brands in this way. His argument is that people choose a brand because they are more certain that it is good. It is back to the old saying “you’ll never get fired for buying IBM”.

A company with a strong brand name has a strong reputation. It therefore has a lot to lose from selling someone a product or service that fails. He leaves us with an interesting point to ponder on: “McDonald’s isn’t the most popular restaurant in the world because it’s really good – it’s just absolutely superb at not being terrible”.

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