Nick Brien is half right

by Lor3nzo on November 9, 2007

AdAge has a great article on Nick Brien, worldwide CEO of Universal McCann [link].   However I must take objection to a couple of statements:

  1. “When clients say, ‘Talk to me about new media,’ I say, ‘No I am not going to talk to you about new media, I am going to talk to you about new marketing,'”.   I  can see his point, but actually it is a new world altogether, a world where audiences are empowered with tools that leverage their numbers and voices:  social networks, blogs, message boards, email, SMS, social networks enabled services like, and social networks enabling services like  It should be no surprise here; the notion that Markets are Conversations has been around for quite a while now.
  2. “A brand is ultimately a promise …” This is where Nick gets it really wrong!  Marketing is the promise, Brand is Love.  Brand is the relationship between the audience and the product;  it resides in the mind of the audience, where the company is acting like a Brand Trustee.  Apple Inc. is the trustee for the Apple brand, and the iPod brand, and the MacBook brand.  Audiences may fall in love with iPod but not with MacBook, or they might fall out of love for iPod and fall in love with MacBook.  And just like in any relationship, the promises you keep cement the relationship, the ones you don’t will be forgiven up to a point, and then might be turned against you.  Marketing is the promise, the communication of things to come.

All in all, read the article.  The first half is better then the second half, but again, if you consider the audience (advertisers) and the context (AdAge), we can forgive a couple of inaccuracies.  Can we?

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