By Iboro Otongaran
Brand power is the marketer’s all-time elixir for demand management. But brand power is a tricky hand in the marketer’s toolbox. If you doubt me ask the makers of hydroxychloroquine, and check with stock market analysts why bourses around the world roared on the announcement that Pfizer has found a vaccine for Covid-19.
To use a deadbeat cliché, brand power is a two-edged sword. A thoughtless wielding of the sword can slice off the wielder and wreak unintended havoc, whereas a prudent deployment of brand power can make the cash register ring. That was the fate of hydroxychloroquine. The drug suffered the fate of a leper—most people did not want to touch it—because the brand behind it, President Donald Trump, was a discredited, disreputable, obnoxious name. The power of the brand! Any time hydroxychloroquine was mentioned, what flashed on the mental screen of potential consumers was the reputation of the man who touted the drug most. They remembered that Trump was unreliable, a science-denier, a liar. They knew the brand identified with the drug was a man whose reputation they could not take to the bank.
Very few people wanted to find out whether the drug was efficacious and safe. For them Trump, the brand associated with it, couldn’t be promoting what was efficacious and safe. There was nothing in his history to inspire that confidence.
Pfizer was lucky that Trump was driven by election defeat into the bunker in the White House, and was therefore not around to intrude and ruin it for them with his unsolicited, garrulous meddlesomeness at the time of the market entry announcement of their game-changing coronavirus vaccine. News of the drug was made by the CEO of Pfizer. That made all the difference.
Pfizer has a long history of reliability, quality and predictability—all of which makes the Pfizer brand the gold standard in the entire business of delivering healthcare products that are efficacious and safe. In fact, a quip is making the rounds on social media platforms, that since Pfizer revived the dead with Viagra, it can sure help the living with Covid-19 vaccine. Brand power is all about reputation, which creates bonding and favourability with or dispels target markets.
Those are the innards of brand power. Mind whom you choose to promote your business. Engage a wacky and end up with rejection. Get a quality brand he transfers the halo of favourability onto your product or service.