Product Before Brand Is Logical, But What’s Logic Got To Do With This?

Dan Levy at Mr. Magazine, a.k.a. Samir Husni, journalism professor at Ole Miss.
One of the things Husni said is well worth reflecting on.

People don’t have experiences with brands. They don’t experience Nike, they experience the shoe that Nike makes. They experience the product. If it’s good for your feet, if it’s comfy, if you like the design, then you might feel warmly toward Nike. But no one says, “Oh, I just love that Nike brand.” It’s the same thing with magazines. You’re not going to get me to fall in love with the “Car and Driver” brand. I need to engage with a product and have a product experience before I have a brand experience. If the product is relevant to you, enjoyable to you, then you’ll start believing in the brand.

I love the common sense in this line of thinking, but I will challenge the good professor in this way–a lifestyle brand (like Nike) is made up of so much more than product. Thus, the product experience is not free from the impact of advertising, branding, PR, events and what one’s peers think. The product experience is, in fact, shaped by the totality of the product and its marketing.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.