Manifesto for REAL brands

Hugh MacLeod of Gaping Void has asked for mini manifestos on subjects people are passionate about. Here’s my go on building REAL brands based on substance, not spin:

1. Real branding is not a beauty contest about who has the most creative advertising. It’s about boosting the bottom-line
Example: Marks & Spencer’s revival

2. Real brands build on deep, immersive insights. You find these out in the real world, not watching 8 strangers drinking cheap wine from behind a 2-way mirror
Example: Pampers learnt from child experts that dry babies sleep well, play more, and so develop better

3. Real brands drive the whole business, not just the image wrapper of advertising and logo
Example: Apple (product, design, store, website, packaging, innovation)

4. Real brands are authentic, building on a genuine product truth. Accepting that "all products are the same" is surrendering to retailers’ own label brands
Example: the product passion of Innocent Smoothies

5. Real brands use emotion ("sizzle") to sell a compelling product story ("sausage"). Emotion without product truth = sponsored entertainment
Example: Harley Davidson’s rugged, rough at the edges, throatily roaring motorbikes

6. Real brands avoid "brand ego trips" when extending, by sticking to what made them famous and avoiding extensions with no added value
Example: Dove’s extension into shower, hair and deo based on its 1/4 moisturising cream truth

7. Real brands are a magical mix of smart strategy and excellent execution
Example: Gu puddings’ perfect product and phenomenal packaging

8. Real brand leaders inspire their people by saying less and doing more, being the living, breathing embodiment of their brand
Examples: Brand CEOs  Steve Jobs/Apple, Richard Reed/Innocent, Silvia Lagnado/Dove

Which of these are on target? Any you don’t agree with? Additions?