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Brands and Commodities

Andy Rutledge on brands versus commodities…

A brand is a brand by how it promises something distinct and by how that distinction produces specific outcomes and fulfills the promise. There are a lot of so-called brands in the world that aren’t really brands at all. These companies might be valuable, but their brands are worthless and serve no purpose. Some good examples are companies like Chevron, Shell, ExxonMobil, Valero, and countless others like them.

These are all recognizable logos, but so what? These companies pretend to be brands, but as far as consumers perceive all of these companies do the same thing and, more importantly, they all mean the same thing in the marketplace. You will get exactly the same product and the same customer experience at any of these companies’ stores, so in the overwhelming majority of cases the only question in consumers’ minds when seeking out the products these companies offer is, “how much does it cost?” Not brands, these are just vendors with recognizable logos, selling a commodity. They have, though, garnered a lot of success, right?


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