Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Values have value

I was interested today to see the world's 100 most valuable brands are recovering more quickly from the economic downturn than the companies listed on the S&P 500 as a whole.

One of the significant features of brands is that they are surrounded by conversations that add brand values.

For example, the top brand, Google, is talked about from many perspectives and with many values expressed.

I thought that it would be fun to see an example of value concepts from the first ten news reports about Google as presented by its news search engine today.

What we see from the mini reputation wall (below) are a diversity of concepts that form a small part of the value cloud that has accumulate to create the brand we all know as Google.

What is interesting here is that the values I ascribe to Google's brand are not the same as yours and both of us might agree that the newspapers in the test are not representing the view of the brand either of us have.

But then we are probably not desperate to know that "Google has finally admitted that mysterious doodles on their search engine masthead, which showed a UFO and strange crop circles.....", which was the Daily Mail story or "The Beatles really became bigger than Jesus when more people searched for the band than the son of God on Google over the last month...." according to the Daily Telegraph. These two articles add unusual values to the Google brand which both the Mail and the Telegraph think we might like to add to the values we already have.

We see that brands have a wide range of values and that there is an exchange rate between brand values and, for example, products purchased for cash. This means that brand values can be traded for money.

There are a number of differences as between a market and the purchase of a brand values. The most obvious is that the brand does not have to part with its values in exchange for the sale of the product. Indeed, as long as the product is satisfactory, the brands values will have enhanced value.

The big lesson we learn from all this is that brand values are not created by the brand but are created by a diverse community and that successful brands have a lot of values ascribed to them. These values, when shared help to build a common community of interest - the basic elements for social groups to form. Common and shared values form publics.

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