Book Reviews

 
Branding

The Omnipowerful Brand

Author: Frank Delano
Publisher AMACOM
Publication Date: October 1998

Reviewer:Robert Morris
Based in Dallas, Robert Morris is an independent management consultant who specializes in accelerated executive development and organizational growth. He is the author of almost 150 Business Nuggets and frequently conducts workshops based on material selected from them. His formal education includes graduate study at Yale, Northwestern, U.C.L.A., and Chicago universities. He has served in several senior-level corporate positions and is currently preparing to launch his own website (interllect.com). Please contact him at rmmorris@airmail.net.

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According to a blurb on the dust jacket of The The Omnipowerful Brand (published by AMACOM), "America's #1 brand specialist shares his secrets for catapulting your brand to marketing stardom." In fact, that is precisely what Frank Delano accomplishes in this best-selling book which is divided into two parts: In Pursuit of the Great Brand Name, and, Building a Great Brand Name Into the Omnipowerful Brand: Lessons from American and European Companies. 

According to Delano, "...the first half of this book is focused on the seven proven principles and a proven process to find a great brand name -- a brand name that launches the product, service, or business venture into the world's marketplace or replaces one that has proven to be a marketing dud....The book's second half is devoted to what it takes to build a great brand name into the omnipowerful brand -- a brand that transcends the very product that put it on the map."

This is a brilliant analysis of how to find ways "to transform [any] brand's name into a tangible asset that consumers want to own. The newest brand image-building vehicle on the horizon is the company-owned brand store" (probably with a website address). In Chapter 3, Delano asserts that "in many cases, the brand's name is even more important than the product itself, especially when it's a me-too product." In Chapter 4, he reveals and explains "Secrets to Naming Products and Companies." By the time we arrive at Chapter 7, Delano focuses on how to create what he calls the "omnipowerful brand" and explains that "the great name you selected has already set the personality, character, and image of the brand."

In Chapter 8, he offers seven essentials for building a successful advertisement:  Brand Focus (sell the brand as well as the product),  Big Idea (the brand's compelling story), Brand Theme Line (memorable presentation of what is offered), Relevance (use of a big brand idea rather than a big creative idea), Originality (making a unique statement), Showing (demonstration of superiority), and Credibility (at the edge of believability). Delano carefully explains why some advertisement are effective and others are not. The "seven essentials" serve as guidelines when making that determination.

Most of the material in The Omnipowerful Brand focuses on advertising. It would be a mistake, however, to limit the relevance of DelanoÕs analysis to that one medium. In fact, the greatest value of his book is that it explains how to think about any product or service viewed as a brand rather than, for example,  as a soft drink or as an analysis of the beverage industry. Today, almost any product or service is a commodity. The consumer has all manner of choices as to what and where to buy...also from whom. Effective advertising is the result of effective thinking. Moreover, effective thinking can produce much more than effective advertising. Applying the principles which Delano reviews, a product or service ceases to be a commodity and becomes a powerful brand only if and when it is invested with a unique and compelling identity. 

The "omnipowerful brand" is that which has the most appropriate name, that which transcends what it is and does, and that which (in effect) takes on a life of its own. It has its own distinctive personality. Some names become generic: "Xeroxing" can be accomplished on several different brands of photocopiers. Some names have a permanent association with their company: "AAdvantage" with American Airlines. (What are the names of the other major airlines' frequent flier programs?) Names are important. For Delano, the naming of any product or service is critically important. However, great names are essentially worthless if they are misnomers: failing to be and/or do what they explicitly or implicitly promise. 

In the final chapter of The Omnipowerful Brand, Delano discusses "the next dimension of power brand marketing." After providing a list of 16 major corporations whose brand strategies have been successful, he observes: "America's best-run companies...pay close attention to all the key elements that affect the health and vigor of their most prized asset -- the brand....The best news of all is that the omnipowerful brand is within reach of every company regardless of its size or business sector." Even companies with little (if any) money to spend on advertising can still derive substantial benefit from The Omnipowerful Brand. It will help them to answer such basic questions as these: We know who we are and what we sell but what is our brand? What makes it unique? How can we nourish and strengthen it? How can we leverage it? The answers to these questions will help any company as it proceeds into an uncertain future.