By Kalu Okoronkwo
Optimal Brand Performance, Emmanuel Obeta, Devaine Brands Consults, pp. 232
The subject of brand is one that has defied known conjectures and school of thoughts, as there are many professionals and teachers who claim expertise in that area. Nevertheless, the subject has remained elusive to so many, even among those who, by providence, are acclaimed pundits in the world of marketing and advertising, believed to be the primary constituent of brand.
The dearth of indigenous literature on brands as it is prevalent in other professions, such as law, medicine, engineering among others, has also elevated the common confusion as to what could constitute adequate brand knowledge.
It is based on this premise that the publication of the book Optimal Brand Performance (Why some brands succeed and others fail), has become timely. The author highlights the need for companies, organisations and individuals to have a good understanding of the concept of brand, which, according to the author, has “developed and elixir status where every success and failure of the organisation and its products and services, are attributed to the brand.”
For easy reading and understanding of the book, Optimal Brand Performance, Emmanuel Obeta, distills the kernel of Brand as a subject, noting that Brand Management, like every other field of endeavor, is made up of several building blocks, that, if assembled in the right order and proportion, will result in the building of a strong edifice or field of study.
The book, divided into 10 chapters, starts with a foreword written by Justie Odie Nnabuko, a professor of Marketing and Director, Institute of Maritime Studies, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC).
The first chapter of the book provides the reader with different perspectives and definitions of a brand. Mr. Obeta traces the origin of the brand which started from ancient Egypt. He goes ashore fishing in different oceans to get all sides and perspectives of the brand from different experts globally in order to broaden the understanding of the reader.
The author, in the second chapter of the book, brings to the fore, the distinction and relationship between products and brands. This has remained the common conflict in understanding the concept of brand.
This is also where expertise and professionalism are needed in teaching the subject of brand management in Mass Communication or Marketing classes. Most often, writers and authors confuse products with brands blurring the several distinguishing factors between them. The author charismatically distinguished the two concepts, which oftentimes are in water tight compartments. Quoting Marty Neumeire in his definition of brand, the author lays out what brand is not: “not logo, an identity or product”. He said a brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or organisation”. To further differentiate products from brands, the author categorised brands into different forms: Disruptive brands, Conscious brands, Service brands, Innovative brands, Value brands, Performance brands, Luxury brands, Style brands and Experience brands.
The author, with a note of finality while distinguishing brands and products, affirms that, while products are instantly meaningful, brands become meaningful over time.
Chapter three of the book x-rays one of the most talked about brand topics in analysing a brand — the Brand Architecture. Chapter four provides the reader with detailed explanation about brand identity and why brands fail. This also spills over to chapter five to examine in detail other factors that make brands fail.
Chapter six discusses differentiation in details giving the reader step by step mechanics of differentiation. Brand positioning, a key component of branding was also extensively discussed in chapter seven while brand analytics and measurement was discussed in chapter nine.
In Chapter 10 and the final chapter, the author’s case study of the Nigerian police is brought to the fore. Under the title, “A brand in Need of Rebranding”, the author justifies the reason for the study of the Nigerian police in terms of its ubiquity and impact on every resident of Nigeria, whether in the urban or rural areas. The author, while analysing the Nigeria Police brand as a case study, leverages on the scenario to talk about rebranding in detail.
The gradual progression of the book, from the definition of brand to the eventual definition of the variegated brand management dimensions, gives a better understanding of the book’s direction to the reader.
In conclusion, I am, therefore, recommending this book to the general public, especially professionals and those in academics, who will want to advance their calling in the areas, such as Marketing Communications, Brand Management, Media and Public Relations (PR) based on the author’s authority in writing this book.
Obeta is an accomplished and results oriented Senior Consultant with over 30 years extensive experience leading corporate marketing, communications, brand management, leadership and strategic operations for multi-million dollar companies, like Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, Guinness-Diego, Globacom, First Bank, UBA Plc and Federal Inland Revenue Services.