Author: Emmanuel Obeta
Available on AMAZON Https://www.Amazon.com/dp/B0B55C9S8R
Tel: +234 -8139322773; +234 -8034007393
Reviewer: Goke Ilesanmi
Branding is very critical to personal, business and organisational success. This is because it is the means through which businesses get credit for the quality they represent and deliver. It is also a familiar bridge across which businesses and their customers engage in transactions that lead to long-term and mutually-beneficial relationships. A brand is the visual, verbal and behavioural expression of an organisation’s unique business model. The importance of branding informs the choice of this 232-page book entitled “Optimal Brand Performance” with the subtitle “Why Some Brands Succeed and Others Fail” for review this week.
It is written by Mr Emmanuel Obeta, Managing Partner, Devaine Brands Consult. Obeta is an accomplished corporate executive with over thirty years of extensive experience in leading corporate marketing, communication, brand management and strategic operations for large corporate organisations such as Coca Cola, Guinness-Diageo, Pepsi Cola, Globacom, Federal Inland Revenue Service, First Bank Plc and UBA Plc.
He has an impressive track record of massive turnaround accomplishments in conceiving, executing and coordinating high-profile marketing campaigns to successful completion. Obeta who holds degrees in Mass Communication, Marketing and Business Management is a winner of several awards, including the OECD Best Tax Education Initiative Award.
According to him, corporate organisations or groups of people across the world are confused by the word “brands” and how to manage brands. In Obeta’s words, “Several companies have spent millions of dollars to develop unique approaches to creating, building, and managing their brands. The word also has developed an elixir status where every success and failure of the organisation and its products or services is attributed to the brand.”
He says this book is therefore an intellectual effort to approach the complex field of Brand Management in a way that seeks to clarify the concept of brands and what brand practitioners need to know about the key indices critical to the success and failure of their brands.
Structurally, this book is segmented into ten chapters. Chapter one is interrogatively christened “What Is a Brand?” Here, this author traces the genesis of branding and examines different definitions of a brand by The Economist, the American Marketing Association, John Sherry, etc. According to Obeta, a brand is like a living being as it has an identity, personality, name, culture, vision, emotion and intelligence.
He adds that a brand is also a product, service, person, company or concept that has characteristics such as a name, symbol, etc., which can be differentiated from others in the market. In his words, “A brand is the combination of properties within and outside a product, which gives an identity to the generic product. It cannot be separated from the product.”
Obeta says central to all these definitions is the purpose intended to be achieved by the branding efforts such as differentiation, identity, relevance, etc. He adds that these definitions also expressly imply an active process of building these characteristics into the product by the vehicular mode of expressing these inbuilt characteristics.
Chapter two is conceptually entitled “What Is a Product and Its Relationship with the Brand?” Obeta provides concrete conceptual background here through allusion by saying that Kapferer in his definition of a brand clearly differentiates between a brand and a product. That is, you buy a product for what it does while you choose a brand for what it means. Also, a product sits on the retailers’ shelves but a brand exists in the minds of consumers. While a product can quickly become outdated, a brand is timeless.
According to Obeta, “A product, therefore, becomes or attains the status of a brand when the physical product is augmented by something else – images, symbols, perceptions, feelings, etc.- to produce an integral idea greater than the sum of its parts. This, for example, is the reason why Pepsi in a blind test can be preferred over Coca-Cola several times over….”
The author says even though a product naturally takes some time and pass through some processes before it becomes identified with some cherished images, symbols, perceptions and feelings, a lot of strategic marketing and brand management techniques have been innovatively deployed right from the concept design, production and packaging to ensure that a product is positioned to occupy a place in the minds of consumers from day one. In Obeta’s words, “This short-circuits the process or the time required for the product to assume the status of a brand.”
In chapters three to six, the author beams his intellectual and analytical searchlight on concepts such as brand architecture and different types of brands; centrality of brand identity to the success and failure of some brands; other factors critical to the success and failure of some brands; as well as differentiation, distinctiveness and salience.
In chapter seven, Obeta extensively examines the concept of brand positioning. That is, one of the most critical elements in brand strategy concerned with strategic placement of a brand to occupy a unique space in the minds of consumers through differentiation from other brands. The concept that Kotler defines as “the act of designing the company’s offering and image to occupy a distinctive place in the mind of the target market”.
In chapters eight to ten, Obeta discusses the concepts of the final stages of brand analytics and measurement and the case study of the Nigeria Police as an institution in need of re-branding.
Conceptually, Obeta’s efforts are commendable as the book has intellectual depth, being a product of his extensive research, intellectual knowledge and practical professional experience.
Stylistically, it is distinct. The language maintains appreciable simplicity that enhances understanding of the articulated concepts. This is expected given the varied intellectual backgrounds of the author as a Marketer, Communicator, Lecturer and Brand Manager.
The outer cover design is aesthetically appealing and visually distinctive, thus reinforcing the theme of branding examined in this book. Obeta lends intellectual reinforcement to the book through appropriate reference to works of experts. The book title is short and potent. However, some errors are noticed in the book. For instance, “The book, in its journey, started with an attempt…” (Introduction page). The word “started” ought to be “starts”. In chapter ten, “Nigerian Police Force” is used instead of “Nigeria Police Force”.
Generally, this book is a masterpiece. It is a must-have and must-read for organisations, brand managers, marketers and even everybody. It is intellectually rich.
GOKE ILESANMI (FIIM, FIMC, CMC), CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker, Career Mgt Coach and Certified Mgt Consultant. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.
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