Wednesday, 13 January 2010

A Brand Dilemma

Are brands, brand names etcetera always created or do the products themselves have an influence over all of this?

It is very much the chicken and the egg debate: what came first Hula Hoop® or the crisp with the hole? Or in another way did the brand name determine the design, specification and production of the crunchy snack, or did they just bake-do you even bake crisps?-some crisps which came out hoop shaped and they said ‘well ya know what we’re goin’ to ’ave to call ’em?’

Unfortunately the Hula Hoop® example fails to answer this age old paradox. But, I have an opinion on the matter! Take the hot cross bun
[1] for example: according to the ever reliable resources of Wikipedia the hot cross bun has been knocking around for ages[2], but perhaps has not always been designated specifically as a hot cross bun, nor has there necessarily been a mention of the words hot, cross, or even bun. So what am I trying to say? Well, the bun existed in its current design prior to the nominal term hot cross bun, I suggest therefore that it took some smart advertising tycoon to come along see it and deem the bun hot and cross.

My argument is reaffirmed further if we consider that the bun may not necessarily have always been heated up in the past and thus the same advertising entrepreneur had a dilemma: if the sweet doughy product was not heated up then the advertising mogul had a clear and negative brand identity; because with no hot it’s just a cross bun and nobody wants that!

[1] In this instance I will use hot cross bun as a hypothetical brand name.


  1. I can clear this dilemma up for you: it is almost always the product that comes first, and it always should be.

    In each of your examples, it was the product that came first, and brand name second.

    The only example of the brand name coming first that I can think of is with brand extensions. The success of one product gives the brand some equity that the owners want to take advantage of further. So they attempt to find new products to associate with the successful existing brand.

  2. I had suspicions that would be the case!