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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
Disposable Dixie-cup drinking / I assassin down the avenue / I'm hiding out in the big city blinking
— Wilco, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
May 25, 2005
branding madness. redux.

My thoughts on branding are well known, but my boss pointed out this example to me today and I just had to chuckle.

AUCTIONIZE: ebay’s next competitor to sell itself… on ebay of course!

This is a guy who put a “buy now” price of US$250,000 on a brand. Not even an established brand, just a brand.

How many things are wrong with this picture?

The brand in question has no product - there’s a URL, a logo, some rights to phone numbers - no existing product.

A quote on the site claims that this is certainly worth something - citing legal fees and other costs associate with establishing brand as value, but doesn’t say how much.

This ignores a fundamental reality: brands are built on product, not vice versa. Red Bull has become extremely well known not thanks to the name, logo or marketing but thanks to that stuff in the can (ever tried it? Don’t.) Similarly, the most fundamental aspect of Coca-Cola’s brand is the sugar water in the red can, not the logo. Have doubts? How many times have you asked for a Coca-Cola Sprite? Didn’t think so.

The best thinga bout this sale is that it’s happening on eBay. Owner seems to find this amusing, but really it reinforces the ineffectiveness of the brand - why not hold the auction at the auctionize url itself?

Of course, there’s no bids - or there weren’t 22 hours prior to the sale’s closing. Good thing too - since the seller is asking for payment by PayPal, the commision on the sale would really only serve to reinforce the eBay brand itself.

Silly me. I always said product first. I pity the people who needed this as an example, and those who think it’s an example of branding’s strength.

Posted by skooter at 4:23 PM This entry is filed under Technology.

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