What Makes a Brand Great?

23 Jan , 2018  

Great brands trigger experiences that consumers are longingly looking for.

Great brands deliver on their promises – their “Brand Promises.”

But do brands really make promises?

Here is a list of 100 great brands. Over the years, we’ve worked for 10 of these brands, and for brands in most of the product categories represented.

We’ve also worked for 22 of the top advertisers, as ranked by Ad Age.

So, we know what forces make a brand great, what makes a brand weaker over time and what leads to a brand dying.

The Brand Promise is a key factor.

But most of the time brands don’t explicitly tell us what they promise… if a brand does spell out its Brand Promise, then it’s usually in trouble, or in the hands of an incompetent ad agency.

From Ad Men on down through the last 65 years there are a litany of such stories.

But brands do promise that if we will only hop on board with them, good things will happen.


A brand is not a mere product. A brand is more intangible, more subtle… seductive… subjective… even sneaky and irreverent at times.

Brands will do whatever it takes to get the message across that if you take me, buy me, drink me, wear me, love me, ride me or lavish me on yourself… you will fulfill your needs and your dreams.

If you will only do that, then you can have everything… at least for a while.

Then, when the satisfaction fades…

Then what? Then what do you?

That’s when the hunt begins again, the “It” they are looking for!

Maybe, this time the “It” is another brand, whatever the iconic imagery is that seduces you into feeling that if only you have it this once, or one more time, or just every day, then…

Then what?

If the brand delivers, then your emotional needs will be met! You’ll be satisfied and you will thirst no longer!

But… you will thirst again! It may be a day, a week or a year, but you will thirst again!


Because you can’t get enough of the “stuff” that your brand delivers.

You know what that “stuff” is! Maybe you can’t explain it or rationalize it (left brain knowing), but your heart knows – you feel it (right brain knowing).

It’s an emotional experience.

You feel it and you sense it in the sinews of your body and deep down into your soul… that is what is driving you!

Corvette, McDonald’s, Coke, Apple, Google, Lexus, Toyota, Budweiser, Amex, FedEx…All great brands!

Because they deliver on their promises…most of the time!

In our next blog we will answer the question:

How Do You Kill Your Brand?

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5 Responses

  1. Steve Martinek says:

    When/why do some brands deserve to die? Why/how are some resurrected from virtual death?

  2. George says:

    Seems like the nFL brand is dinintegrsting from top-down with the Re announcing of Roger Goidell at an enormous salary, and the bottom up, with sickeningly plush contracts and allowing social activists to taint the game. How much ch heart do fans have left with which to leave their City and the team that competes in their name?

  3. G. R. Jones says:

    Will not be watching the super bowl

  4. Ed Charbonnet says:

    Fascinating topics. I look forward to reading more. But I personally do not sign the NFL brand is fading. They hit some bumps along the way but I believe they very cleverly spread their money out across teams allowing different teams to rise near the top and just giving us variety.

  5. Bill Kilgore says:

    We will not watch the Super Bowl today. First time ever.

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