Branding News South Africa

Is your brand dead? Ask Martin Lindstrom

There is a general impression that certain brands have, in the true sense of the word, run out of steam and are dying slowly but surely. This emerged at the Martin Lindstrom Buy-ology Symposium held yesterday, Monday, 9 March 2009, at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg.
Martin Lindstrom
Martin Lindstrom

“Our filter is getting thicker and thicker and the concept of brand as we know it is dying. Our source of guidance seems to generate a fundamental disconnection,” Lindstrom told delegates.

He said that, in a situation such as this, a new thinking is wanted to reposition the brand and save it from total collapse. For some, the fundamental thought would be to start collecting data in order to conduct a qualitative and quantitative research which could perhaps lead to develop a new strategy.

New ways of revolutionising

However, in his book released late last year titled Buy-ology, Lindstrom has come up with new ways of revolutionising the advertising and marketing industries and saving thousands of stagnant and steamless brands.

Basically, the book was the culmination of a US$7 million groundbreaking study on ‘Neuromarketing', which used the latest brain scan technology to reveal radical findings into consumer behaviour, and refute most of what many think they know about why people buy.

And yesterday, appearing live and in person in Johannesburg, Lindstrom said, “Nine out of 10 products released today fail. Anything we know about brands today is known by mistake.

“It is one thing to be rational and another to be emotional. We need to find the window with the best possible view.”

Lindstrom then asked, “Does sex sell? The answer is no. If the brand is controversial, it may cause certain people to be offended.”

“Develop rituals”

He said, “Let's develop rituals around our brand. If you are a brand builder, celebrate old values and focus on the good old values of the past to build a strong brand.

“Be practical. If you are in the financial institution, give people practical tools how they can save money and be financially alert.”

He also said that fear is and will still be a powerful weapon in advertising because it drives human behaviour - one such example being the fear of recession and the way it has changed people's spending behaviour.

Buy out of fear

He believes that consumers buy some products out of fear (fear = alert), for instance, when an ad says that not using a certain product while brushing your teeth could cause gum diseases or some other health disorders. He also said that rumours have become a guiding advice for consumers.

Lindstrom rejects the notion that consumers are attracted by the size of discount. He said: “Discount is the death of a brand. Instead, bundle up. Study shows that it takes at least seven years to recover the value of the brand after the discount.”

Lindstrom will conduct his Buy-ology Symposium tour in more than 50 countries in 18 months. is a media partner. For more information, go to

About Issa Sikiti da Silva

Issa Sikiti da Silva is a winner of the 2010 SADC Media Awards (print category). He freelances for various media outlets, local and foreign, and has travelled extensively across Africa. His work has been published both in French and English. He used to contribute to as a senior news writer.
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