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Book review

By The Drum, Administrator

May 28, 2003 | 3 min read

What makes a great brand and how do we ensure great brands retain their respected position? These are two of the many questions that marketers constantly ask themselves about their brands.

I had been really looking forward to reading Consumer Superbrands and had the usual feeling of anticipation before opening any marketing-related book. A panel of highly respected judges has identified the 74 most respected brands in the UK, which have all been compiled in Consumer Superbrands by author Marcel Knobil.

I asked myself, will this finally lead me to the Holy Grail? Will it serve up the clarity, insight and knowledge I need to achieve and retain superbrand status? As one would expect, there is no simple answer to any of the above, nor can we expect one.

This essential reading offers an insight into the background, development and future of all 74 brands, from McDonald’s to Marks and Spencer and from Easyjet to Vodafone. It does this in a consistent, easy-to-read format. Each brand is covered in two pages and covers each individual market.

There’s a whole host of interesting information about the brands. These include individual achievements, history of the product, recent developments, promotion, and brand values. The book is peppered with some little-known facts about each of the individual brands.

I have to say I enjoyed the book and continue to do so – it’s great to dip in and out of. I’ve found myself speed-reading on different brands, looking for little bits of inspiration.

As a marketer, I am always hungry for more knowledge on my chosen subject and I can definitely say there is some original, well articulated thought contained in Consumer Superbrands.

There’s some excellent insight at the end of the book into what makes a superbrand, and how to retain superbrand status.

Ultimately, it boils down to a few central factors and we know what they are. It’s about being better than the rest, listening to our consumers and being relevant. The mantra for maintaining superbrand status is consistency and valuation, investment and innovation.

Above all, though, it’s about not screwing up!

A brand is a complex mix of tangibles and values and we all recognise and respect great brands. To work with one great brand is a privilege. To work with two is an honour I sometimes question the sanity of!

My only criticism is that Consumer Superbrands didn’t include Durex – still, there’s always next year I suppose.

Consumer Superbrands is published by The Brand Council and is available online at with a cover price of £35 including post and packaging.


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