All brand and no business

johnmoore (no relation) is on the money commenting on the demise of Song:

Hmm … the brand should never create the business … hmm.

That’s exactly what I thought today when I heard the news Delta was shutting down Song Airlines — Song was all brand and no business.

Song was too busy creating a brand to think about being a business. Song was too busy crafting a brand ethos to think about being a business.

Song was too busy prescribing feelings than to think about being a business. Song was too busy designing signature cocktails and installing boutique Song stores in SoHo (NYC) to think about being a business. And because Song was busy working on and working in its brand they built a brand, of which, the by-product was the creation of a weak business.

Should this really surprise us? Song, after all, was built by marketers so it’s only natural the branding elements would come before the business elements.

6 thoughts on “All brand and no business

  1. Max Leibman

    It’s a great point, whichever John(nie) Moore said it first.

    Consumers are complicitous in a good brand, and increasingly they refuse to play their part if there’s no there there. You have to provide a quality experience first, then build the brand around it; it grows from the inside out. You can’t start with the brand–consumers may be susceptible to manipulation, but they’re savvier than brand marketers credit them for.

  2. Graham Hill


    It all comes down to achieving a balance between “experiencing the brand” and “branding the experience”.

    Most companies talk about getting customers to experience their brand, forgetting that brands only exist in the mind of their customers. And that it is often the front-line staff who really make the difference for customers. Surveys show that over 90% of the promises made to customers by branded communications are never fulfilled. A small minority of companies actually try to develop brands out of the experiences they provide their customers. There aren’t any prizes for guessing which brands are the most real.

    Sadly, the US airline majors have a long history of failing to deliver an experience comparable to Southwest’s for the same price.

    Take a look at Grant McCracken’s blog “This Blog Sits At The” for an alternative viewpoint…

  3. Johnnie Moore

    Graham, thanks and yes I think that’s the distinction. I’d be interested in knowing the source of the report that over 90% of promises in branded communications aren’t fulfilled.


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