Thursday, February 07, 2008

CIMA awarded Superbrand status

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) has been awarded "Superbrand" status.

What exactly is a Superbrand?

According to the definition it "aims to identify brands that perform above and beyond other brands within their respective markets."

The critera are "market dominance, longevity, goodwill, customer loyalty and market acceptancy."

It seems to be a system of ranking brands, a beauty contest if you like of brands. So far so good.

The problem is that the exercise does not come cheap. According to estimates I have received (please correct me if I am wrong) it costs a million rupees in Sri Lanka. Not very big, perhaps, but big enough to pose the question : what value does this exercise bring about to the owner of the brand?

There is no question that a brand has value, but what does the awarding of Superbrand status do to a brand?

Does a brand, divorced from the product or service that it sells, have any value?

And how does the assignment of Superbrand status generate a return to the brand owner?

The winner of a beauty pageant, even a minor one (eg Miss Working Girl) can reasonably expect to get some offers for advertising, film or modeling work. The award thus brings some value to the holder. There is also a certain prestige that may go with the award.

Is this the case with Superbrands?

Given that all manner of brands have exactly the same award and that any one invited can get it there seems very little in the way of prestige that can be attached to the award. Conceivably if the award was limited to a very small stated number (say a dozen or a score), evaluated in a transparent manner and revised annually it might, over time create the necessary aura.

The brands thus awarded are allowed to place the Superbrands logo on advertisements but this to my mind at least is at best a distraction from the principal brand. The Superbrands logo does not blend in well and one is never sure of what exactly is being advertised. Superbrands or the product in question.

CIMA's Council have doubtless satisfied themselves as to the benefits of the exercise, it remains to be seen if members consider it reasonable use of membership fees. I for one am glad that I am no longer paying subscriptions.


David Blacker said...

jack, brands do have a value that is separate from the product or service they represent. That's why Marlboro can sell clothes and Lamborghini laptops. It's the reason why we're happy to sport Harley Davidson t-shirts or brands as bumper stickers.

The Superbrand award certainly adds value to a brand, regardless of its exclusivity, and can't really be compared to a Miss Universe tag. The latter is exclusive while the Superbrand stamp is just that -- a sort of stamp of approval. It tells a potential customer that the brand meets certain criteria and can therefore be trusted. Trust is everything in brand building.

If in the longterm the Superbrand becomes aas common as the SLS, it will still have meaning, as those without it will not be trusted. At that point, new (and higher) criteria will differentiate the brand leaders.

Yeah, the logo itself's a bit fucked up, but it's such a pain in the arse to design logos in SL. Everyone and their mum think they should have a say in it and the end result's usually horrible.

Serendib_Isle said...

The logo-placing madness only evident in Sri Lanka – Superbrands internationally does not advocate that. The reason: Superbarnds is a salutation, a recognition, not a title. Simply put: its like putting Mr. in front of my name in the business card, really.
Besides, its an annual affair – google could overtake yahoo! the next year.