What David Ogilvy thought about branding
David Ogilvy, often referred to as the “Father of Advertising,” was a renowned advertising executive and founder of the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather. Throughout his career, he developed several beliefs about branding that have had a lasting impact on the field of marketing and advertising.
“Every advertisement should be thought of as a contribution to the complex symbol which is the brand image.”
~ David Ogilvy
In his book “Ogilvy on Advertising” (1983) he discusses corporate brands and their importance in the world of advertising and marketing. He places significant emphasis on the value of building strong and recognizable corporate brands. Here are some key points the author makes about corporate brands:
- Brand Identity: Ogilvy highlights the importance of crafting a unique and memorable brand identity for corporations. He believes that a well-defined brand identity helps create a strong and positive perception of the company in the minds of consumers.
- Consistency: Consistency is a recurring theme in Ogilvy’s approach to branding. He stresses that corporate brands should maintain a consistent image and message across all marketing channels. By doing so, the brand can establish trust and reliability with its target audience.
- Long-Term Focus: According to Ogilvy, building a corporate brand is a long-term endeavor. He advises against short-term thinking and quick fixes, as true brand building requires time and dedication. (See Les Binet’s & Peter Field’s 2014 work in “The Long and Short of It: Balancing Short and Long-Term Marketing Strategies”.)
- Reputation: Ogilvy acknowledges that a corporate brand’s reputation plays a crucial role in its success. He suggests that companies should be honest, transparent, and deliver on their promises to build a positive reputation over time. Your brand is your reputation.
- Differentiation: Ogilvy emphasizes the need for corporate brands to differentiate themselves from competitors. He advises companies to identify and promote their unique selling propositions (USPs) to stand out in the marketplace.
- Emotional Connection: He encourages companies to create an emotional connection with their consumers through their brand. By tapping into emotions, corporate brands can foster loyalty and a sense of belonging among their customers. The work in behavioral science in the past 10 years is opening eyes in marketing and advertising. (See Richard Shotton’s excellent “The Choice Factory: 25 behavioural biases that influence what we buy” 2018.)
- Customer Focus: Brands should focus on their customers’ needs and desires. Understanding the target audience and catering to their preferences is essential for building a successful brand.
- Personality: Brand images means personality. Ogilvy says “Products, like people, have personalities, and they can make or break them in the market place. Many things make up this personality – “its name, its packaging, its price, the style of its advertising, and above all, the nature of the product itself.”
Overall, David Ogilvy’s views on corporate brands in “Ogilvy on Advertising” emphasized the importance of building a strong, consistent, and customer-centric brand identity. He saw corporate brands as powerful tools for establishing a company’s reputation, creating emotional connections with consumers, and differentiating themselves in a competitive market.
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