I have recently started watching TED talks again - they are such an inspiration and you can learn so much from some incredible people.
I stumbled upon this talk by Dan Cobley on the relationship between Physics and Marketing - if you're not a physics person or haven't studied it, don't worry! It is all explained simply and is a facinating look at the world around us.
As Dan says the bigger the brand, the more difficult it is to reposition it. This is why when we talk about branding - it is always best to build a solid brand at the beginning. When we build a solid brand that has been well thought through, when we get to the stage where you are a successful brand you don't have to worry about making changes as you thought everything through at the beginning.
This is not to say that you will never want to change your brand or want to update it - it simply means that you won't have to rebrand purely to fix an error or misconception that you could have rectified when you developed the brand.
He is very right in saying that the act of observing changes the behaviour. - however it doesn't change our need for market research. We do need to be aware of the bias which is why we are very careful in our analysis and we never make a major decision based off one focus group. His comment does highlight the fact that we need to measure the results of our marketing. It is the only 'true' way to analyse customer behaviour.
Whether that is tracking click throughs from a Google AdWords campaign - following through to where people visit on the site, to what they purchase and if they purchase again - or simply seeing how many people bring a voucher in store. This kind of tracking never lies and will tell you how your consumers behave and what they will respond to.
One bad move can make a huge difference to consumer confidence in your brand - this is why we want to have an effective brand and marketing strategy in place so we are less likely to make mistakes. When we have a clear strategy in place we know exactly who we are and where we are going - this is not to say that you will never make a mistake, it will help you stop avoidably mistakes by clarifying your thinking.
I love his comments on the distribution of brand energy - This is where we see brands go viral. It is always exciting to see however it can be risky - but it is a risk we love to take!
I hope you enjoyed the TED talk and got something out of it!