A brand & branding. The 2 things you need to make your ‘work from home’ Instagram offering a real business

A network of entrepreneurs or small businesses working from home is nothing new. In Malaysia, sundry shops, restaurants & bars, workshops, clinics, pawnshops even real estate agents & lawyers have operated out of the front of their premises while living at the back or upstairs for 200 years.

What’s changed though since the first shophouses of the early nineteenth century is technology. Where once those businesses served the surrounding area, work from home entrepreneurs can now, theoretically at least, sell to the world. It’s now easier than ever to start a business, all you need is a product, laptop, modem and kitchen table.

Many entrepreneurs start by selling biscuits, cakes, hijabs, telekungs, bags, jewelry, cosmetics, photography services and more on Instagram or other social media platforms. Some of them do very well but for every APOM, Harmini Asokumar or Vivy Yusof, it’s estimated that 90% of online businesses fail in the first 3 months.

Of those that survive, the majority struggle to establish themselves outside of social media and soon get tired of trying to scale up the business on tiny margins built on a price driven model.

Even those businesses that do grow by migrating to an ecommerce site and/or third party marketplace, inevitably find the competition from China, Indonesia, Thailand and even Europe and the USA too intense and are soon overcome.

The single biggest contributor to the failure of so many Instagram offerings is that the social media model of mass reach to make new sales to new people is not that dissimilar to the mass economy approach (circa 1950s – 1990s) that used mass media to try and build ongoing sales to new customers. However the current landscape is very different, for three primary reasons

1) In the mass media economy there was limited competition and limited conduits to consumers

2) It’s as easy to start an Instagram business for others as it was for you

3) Consumers are a lot more fickle, unforgiving and with so much choice & no real value offering other than price, have less loyalty to social offerings.

Too many of these social offerings assume that the internet, with it’s global reach and hypothetical marketplace of 4 – 5 billion consumers will supply a willing queue of eager new buyers forever. Obviously, with such a high failure rate, that’s not the case.

It’s at this stage of their evolution, that entrepreneurs get in touch with the small business unit at Fusionbrand. But even then many of them start from the wrong place, believing that all they need is a visually compelling identity and with that, they’ll instantly scale up their business, get repeat sales and start raking in huge profits. If only it were that easy!

To accelerate the leap from Instant Instagram offering to real business requires an investment in both creating a brand and branding. You cannot have one without the other but there’s a big difference between the two. And while this requires an initial investment, it is the bedrock on which any business is built. Successful companies that have made the transition from Instagram to the real world, such as DUCK and Naelofar invested both in their brands and branding.

The brand gives them the chance to start the process of building relationships with their customers. The irony here is that their initial success was often based on their ability to provide a personalised service to customers. With not many customers, a personal touch was doable. But as the customer base grew, relationships suffer. When there’s no relationship and price is the only differentiator, there’s often no reason to stay.

What’s the difference between a brand and branding?

A brand is the visual and cultural assets of the business that determine how that business will deliver economic, experiential and emotional value to consumers. Unfortunately a lot of companies focus all their efforts on the visual elements of their brand. Sure it’s nice to have to cool logo and all that but it isn’t going to make a huge amount of difference in the success of your company.

After all the largest tech company in the world has an apple as a logo. Apple on the other hand has invested a huge amount on their culture. Visit an Apple store in any of the world’s major capitals and see in sync the teams are.

The priority for any new business should be on the culture to ensure the three values above are delivered at every touch point, every time. As we always say, it’s not about the company, it’s about the customer.

Delivering this value is really important because it is the first step in the process of building a sustainable relationship with consumers. The brand identity is important but it’s not going to build a relationship with anyone. The culture on the other hand is what resonates.

So the first part of your brand building process requires you to focus on your brand’s culture and build it around delivering value to customers, on their terms. This means hiring people who understand the importance not of selling your stuff but of building meaningful relationships with prospects and customers.

This customer centric culture is what the great brands are built on. While you may not be able or need to build an ecosystem like the one Apple has created, you will still find business easier if you have relationships with your customers rather than seeing them as just another purchase.

Develop a brand strategy

Once you’ve created your brand, you can focus on Branding. Branding is the strategy that not only brings the brand to life, but also builds the relationship with customers. And the best way to do this successfully from the outset is with a brand plan.

If you don’t have a plan, everything you do risks being campaign driven and reactive. There is no place in a social media world for campaigns. Successful businesses are always on, using social media to build relationships, not broadcast corporate messages. Granted there are times when you need to react to events around you, and the most nimble brands do this but these are tactical shifts while the overall strategy continues.

Way too many small businesses think that simply by existing, they become a brand. But think about it, if it were that simple, we’d all be like Coca Cola, Apple or Google in our field! Making the leap from Instagram offering to business requires you to invest in a brand and branding.

Think of it like building a house. You can build a house without foundations but it can fall down at any stage. Build solid foundations and it will survive hurricanes, disasters and potentially last hundreds of years. Branding are the foundations on which your business is built.

It may not be as exciting or as sexy as putting up a billboard on the federal highway and having your friends tell you they saw it. But it’ll definately make you more money in the long run.

For more information on how to take your Instagram offering to the nation, please contact info@fusionbrand.com.


Malaysia Airlines must invest in delivering value not new taglines

At the end of 2019 I wrote a blog post comparing the business class offerings of Malaysia Airlines, Emirates & Qatar. You can read the full review here. The purpose of the review was to highlight just how difficult it is for Malaysia Airlines to try and rescue its market share, especially in the premium business class segment.

Covid-19 has of course changed the aviation business, probably for ever. But when things do get back to some sense of normal, you can be sure the battle for business class will continue. If Malaysia Airlines continues to offer such basic service in premium class, it will never recover its former glory.

My piece generated a few comments, one from a Malaysian called Derek Ow. I’ve reproduced his comments (in red below) and have included my reply to certain comments where I think I can add further value.

I have quite mixed feelings about your review especially in your review of Malaysia Airlines. But let me start with the points I agree with.

1) I agree that the Golden Lounge isn’t the best and that it could be better. But then again, such preferences are very subjective. But the Emirates lounge does indeed set a new level for airlines to follow.

The Emirates and Qatar lounges are the benchmark by which any business class passenger traveling to Malaysia, the region or onto Australia & New Zealand, will judge other airlines. It’s not that there’s much wrong with the Golden Lounge – it’s certainly functional – but these days, that’s enough to run a business but unlikely to generate new sales.

2) The nuts could have been served in a more premium way considering that they are served in a similar fashion in Economy Class.

Such a simple touchpoint, on it’s own means very little. But once it’s put in the competitor context, it makes the Malaysia Airlines brand seem second rate, lazy even.

3) You voiced your concern to a senior attendant in the MAS flight. That’s an exemplary move.

4) WiFi should have been offered to Business Class passengers at either a lower rate or be made complimentary altogether in MAS.

WiFi on planes tends to be so bad that charging for it cannot have any benefits except financial ones yet they will leave a negative perception of the carrier in the mind of the business class passenger – I had to pay for WiFi on MAS and it was crap. Not a good outcome. Better not to charge for it and explain that it will be patchy at best.

5) In-flight entertainment in MAS is quite horrendous and most of the time, they’re outdated and offer little to no programs that appeal to non-Malaysians.

6) Emirates does undoubtedly lead in terms of service. Despite MAS being my airline of choice, objectively Emirates is a winner considering the tiny details the staff pay attention to. And yes, having a limousine is a colossal advantage over the other 2 airlines.

Now onto points I strongly disagree with:

1) You mentioned of how security checks are carried out at the departure gate. I personally applaud the Malaysian authorities for practicing such a protocol as they ensure that between the immigration section after checking in and pre-boarding, there is little to no chance someone could have brought in a forbidden item while at the gates. Let’s not forget that criminals are sophisticated and so refined to a point where they can placed forbidden items (while highly unlikely, it is still possible) on your clothing or even swap carry-in bags while you wait for your flight if you are not paying close attention to your belongings. So I take this as the authorities minimising the chances of any potential hazards no matter how minor making their way into the flights.

2) Honestly, the biscuits still being in the wrapper when served doesn’t bother me a single bit. I don’t even understand why that should even be a question on how exclusive it is.

I don’t think anyone is bothered by it but it hardly communicates a sophisticated experience. You won’t find a high end restaurant serving biscuits in wrappers. It’s just tacky and lacks sophistication.

3) While I am aware that airlines must cater to all tastes, Malaysia Airlines had always branded themselves with ‘Malaysian Hospitality’. Perhaps that a difference in our methods of reviewing but I personally review flights based on how the respective airlines brand themselves. So based on the types of hard products served (especially the Nescafe), I can boldly say that MAS is adhering to their philosophy that is ‘Malaysian Hospitality’ and that there isn’t much fault in that. We’d love for you to experience what we Malaysians enjoy in general. But it is understandable that you may prefer Western tastes.

Malaysian Hospitality is a claim, a tagline, nothing more. This old fashioned approach to branding, where you try and convince the public of something through a communications campaign is irrelevant in the global economy of today where consumers not companies define brands. As for experiences what Malaysians enjoy, that’s not the point of a carrier. And it’s nothing to do with my personal tastes.

I know Malaysian’s like Nescafe but that’s a lifestyle choice driven by indolence and speed not quality. But my point is not about serving Nescafe, that’s fine for Malaysians (although I think it’s really sad because Malaysia has some great home grown coffee and the carrier could support those small businesses by offering their coffees) but the typical international business class passenger does not want to drink Nescafe.

If you want to attract those international travellers and their foreign currency, you need to be able to offer as good as or even a better experience than the other carriers. Offering the cheapest, nastiest coffee in the market to your business class passengers is not the way to do that.

4) I find it unfair to compare airlines in different leagues, serving different communities with different philosophies in terms of service by the same universal benchmark unless it is about the general quality of service which I think you didn’t highlight
that much from an objective standpoint when it came to the in-flight service. It was mostly about fulfilling your personal taste which again, is a very subjective topic. But kudos for being quite objective when it comes to the post flight section.

Malaysia Airlines is in direct competition with Emirates and Qatar. And also BA, Etihad, Oman Air and anyone else who flies the same routes. Once again, it’s not about my personal taste. Cabin crew pushing a trolley down the business class aisle, emptying uneaten food into a garbage back is not high class. Fact. Nothing to do with my personal taste.

And as I keep saying, it’s not that Malaysia Airlines is bad, it’s that everyone else has got so much better. In my opinion, Malaysia Airlines gets the job done. If you simply want to fly from A to B then fine choose Malaysia Airlines but if you want outstanding value for money, then fly the other two because they’ve raised the bar to a new level.

Some of my points can be biased but I’d like to make it clear I am in no way shooting down the entire review since I think it is quite well-done. Just that I didn’t agree on some ways you criticised MAS. Hopefully you will return to Malaysia again someday! Cheers!

My posts/comments/responses/observations are based on nearly 40 years experience of working with brands from both a brand consulting perspective but also as a consumer who works bloody hard for his salary and doesn’t see why he should give his hard earned money to any business that doesn’t provide value.

There is so much competition out there for every product or service that simply going through the motions, as so many businesses do these days is not good enough. I don’t have to accept second best and I won’t.

Successful branding is all about details. Especially in such a brutally competitive space as the aviation business. And contrary to your suggestion that I’m comparing airlines in different leagues, well I’m not. Qatar and Emirates, as well as Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, Oman Air and Etihad are all competitors of MAB because they fly routes MAB flies. And in business class, Qatar and Emirates are setting the business class benchmark for flights in and out of Asia. And one way they are doing this is by paying attention to the details.

Also, as a brand consultant, I can tell you that Malaysia Airlines has wasted millions of dollars trying to position the MH concept in consumers minds. The idea of the tagline to drive a brand is outdated and irrelevant. Whatever happened to ‘Fly Malaysia’ launched last year?

Finally, I’m not criticising Malaysia Airlines, I’m providing feedback for them to improve. Happy flying!

The Luis Suarez Tourism Malaysia deal leaves more questions than answers

The big news yesterday was the low key announcement (contradiction deliberate) of Tourism Malaysia’s tie up with Luis Suarez, the Uruguay centre forward, once of Ajax and Liverpool who reluctantly sold him to FC Barcelona three years ago for about €81 million.

After scoring 88 goals in 3 La Liga seasons, he signed a new contract with FC Barcelona earlier this year but is struggling with a knee injury and has only managed 3 goals in 8 appearances. So hardly setting the footballing world on fire. Unsurprisingly there is now talk of him leaving the club but with an aging body and an existing knee injury, he may become the first high profile player to retire at Barcelona.

So it was a surprise to hear Tourism Malaysia announce a partnership with the player. Tourism Malaysia said in a press release, “The partnership is expected to drive interest for Malaysia as a tourist destination, leveraging on the football player’s popularity around the world which foresaw an increase in millennials visiting the country.”

Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Aziz said, “Suarez had proven to be not only among the world’s top-ranking footballers but also a respected community leader.”

Is Luis Suarez a good fit for Tourism Malaysia?

He carried on, “As a hero to millennials, Suarez is an inspiration to many and we hope that this title and acknowledgement will shine the limelight on Malaysia as a tropical holiday destination that appeals to the millennial spirit for travel and adventure,” he added.

I didn’t know Suarez was a respected community leader and a hero to millenials.

What I do know is that he has a reputation for cheating, racially abusing, biting and punching players both on and off the field. After he was accused and punished for racially abusing Patrick Evra in a Premier League game, the FA released a report that said, “Suárez damaged the image of English football around the world”.

However, Mediapro, the company that represents LaLiga claim Suarez is extremely popular in Asia and Asia MD Lars Heidenreich said, “We are very confident this branding and activation exercise with Suarez will help attract more travellers to consider Malaysia as their next holiday destination and experience all that Malaysia has to offer as being ‘Truly Asia’,” he added.

Suarez considers it “to be an honour and privilege to be able to work with Malaysia and was looking forward to embarking on this journey to introduce the exotic country to the world. Especially its rich culture and heritage to all my fans and make them fans of Malaysia.”

Lots of mixed messages there.

Is such a controversial figure, in the twilight of his career, really a good fit for Malaysia? What is the strategy? How will this deal ‘shine a spotlight on Malaysia’? How will Suarez be used? What is his role? Bearing in mind Qatar sponsors FC Barcelona, how will Malaysia gain exposure?

Does more people considering Malaysia as a destination need such a character? Won’t Malaysia be on the radar of anyone considering SE Asia? In the social media era, will an aging footballer getting limited game time move travellers from consideration to confirmation? Or is that likely to be influenced by the experiences of people like them that they find on social media?

Who exactly is Tourism Malaysia targetting with this exercise? Is it Asian markets? If so, which ones? Is it Millennials? If so, are Millennials from Vietnam the same as Millennials from Japan? which ones?

It’s an interesting deal but it creates more questions than answers. Assuming Suarez gets over the knee injuring, starts playing and more importantly, scoring goals we’ll no doubt see more of him in Malaysia.

Marks & Spencer Christmas 2017 TV ad sets the bar high

It’s that time of the year when UK retailers try to outdo each other with the most original Christmas TV ads. In 2016, John Lewis came out with arguably the best Christmas TVC in a long time, if not ever. That ad cost about £1 million to produce and they spent another £6 million on air time.

During the six week period to December 31 that includes Christmas, gross sales at John Lewis were up 4.9% to £998.1 million. Online sales accounted for 40% of sales, which grew 11.8% compared to bricks-and-mortar shop sales that managed a meagre 0.8%.

The Marks & Spencer 2017 Christmas advert is the first to be aired this year and they will be looking to see similar numbers come December 31st 2017. It’s a very topical ad as it’s linked to the release of Paddington 2.

This ad moves away from the traditional emotional roller coaster to a more feel good theme wrapped around Paddington Bear and ‘Father Christmas.’ Don’t worry no plot spoilers here!

Needless to say Paddington and ‘Santa’ have a series of adventures across London and encounter more than their fair share of cliches but that’s fine, it’s Christmas.

Social media, or certainly those viewing the ad on YouTube have responded with typical British humour! Here’s a selection of comments!

Getting into the Christmas spirit!

Is this another Malaysia Airlines branding fail?

Back in August 2014, as part of its ill conceived attempt to move on from the twin tragedies of earlier in the year, Malaysia Airlines launched a contest called “My Ultimate Bucket List” which Time magazine said was not such a good idea because a bucket list is made up of the things one wants to see or accomplish before dying.

Following the wave of criticism, the airline quickly apologized and the campaign was withdrawn but not before social medial let rip, with one Twitter user asking, “This is a sick, sick joke right? Marketing/PR needs to be fired.”

The focus at Malaysia Airlines has been an ambitious restructuring plan led by outgoing CEO Christoph Mueller who has cut unprofitable routes or offloaded them to competitors, slashed thousands of jobs, and brought in new management.

Is this the right image for Malaysia Airlines to use in its latest campaign?
Is this the right image for Malaysia Airlines to use in its latest campaign?

But throughout this process, the carrier has developed a reputation for poorly conceived communications. Last Saturday I was flying out of Kuching International Airport and saw this strange image above the entrance.

Maybe it’s me but my first thought was that the woman looked like an angel. Doesn’t her hat look like a halo? My next thought was of MH370 and the tagline although totally innocent suggested an announcement was imminent.

And if it isn’t an angel, what is she supposed to be? A butterfly? And what’s the campaign about? Is the world waiting for her? Will she ever arrive?

Whatever it is, I couldn’t help but think this was the beginning of another bucket list fiasco. Or am I over thinking it? Tell me what you think!

An open letter to Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar on the Malaysia Airlines rebrand

I was concerned yesterday when I read your comments that rebranding of Malaysia Airlines (MAB) is not a priority. It was reported that you said, “undertaking a rebranding exercise without having a strong foundation would create a vacuum in the carrier.”

TS Azman Mokhtar
TS Azman Mokhtar

This worries me because I think you are wrong. Malaysia Airlines desperately needs to rebrand. Secondly, you are contradicting what we’ve been hearing from Christoph Mueller who said, “A brand change is a necessity.” This contradiction is only going to make Mueller’s job more difficult, as well as confuse an already confused global public and weaken trust in the ability of the company, whichever one is trying to restore trust in its ability to run a global airline.

But most worrying of all, is that if you as the respected Managing Director of Malaysia’s flagship sovereign wealth fund are making such statements, I am concerned you have been given the wrong advice about what constitutes a brand and branding. Because the structural changes implemented in a rebrand form the foundations for the business to deliver on the promises it makes at every touch point and in relationships with existing customers.

It may be that you have been told a rebrand is nothing more than a creative driven exercise based around a new identity, tagline and statement. That these are then promoted across traditional channels using traditional media in the hope that the new identity will resonate with prospects, boost sales and retention and make the world forget about the twin tragedies, poor management, questionable practices, gap between promises and reality and shallow offering.

This of course is mutton dressed up as lamb and couldn’t be further from the truth. But sadly it is not uncommon. In the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s, with few conduits to consumers and limited competition, this type of creative driven branding often worked. Companies such as Coke, Malaysia Airlines, Nestle and Unilever spent billions of dollars using this approach and increased sales and made profits.

Broadcasting corporate driven messages across mass media is not branding
Broadcasting corporate driven messages across mass media is not branding

Mass media, which was so powerful during this mass-market economy, was the logical vehicle to enhance the impact of creative-driven branding with a corporate controlled message and reach and repetition. In this environment, the company defined the brand and the consumer accepted that definition.

But the mass-market economy no longer exists. Today’s customers are increasingly overwhelmed with those creative images, taglines and promotions and the disruptive nature of that messaging and underwhelmed by the gap between promises made and reality. They now block out much of the noise and look instead to other consumers for information.

In this new economy, where consumers not companies define brands, the definition of a brand and how to build one has changed. Creative ideas are great, but consistency, information, knowledge and relationships are better.

Whilst every brand is different, the fundamentals of building a brand can be applied across sectors. Today Tan Sri, if you want to build a brand, as apposed to make sales, you need to develop a long-term profitable bond between you and your customer. This can only be achieved if you understand how to deliver economic, experiential and emotional value to those customers and on their terms. And you must back this up with everyday operational excellence and at every touchpoint every time.

Once respected managers of sovereign wealth funds such as yourself, our CEOs and government servants understand that this is what constitutes a brand and branding, the sooner we will be able to build world-class brands or in this case rebuild a world class brand that can once again compete with the best carriers out there.

This is especially relevant as the TPPA and AEC will see a massive influx of competition. If we don’t have any brands, our companies will struggle to stay relevant in the new economy.

Tan Sri, I do hope you read this and see my comments as feedback not criticism.

Yours sincerely

Marcus Osborne
MD Fusionbrand Kuala Lumpur
Contributor: Nation Branding: Concepts. Issues. Practice. Routledge. January 2016
Author: Stop Advertising, Start Branding. Published March 2016.

Malaysia Airlines must find new ways to restore confidence in the ailing brand

What was once a globally respected icon of the aviation industry is in danger of becoming the laughing stock of the world and an embarrassment to all Malaysians.

The arrival of Christoph Mueller seems to have done nothing to challenge the status quo. Last Tuesday we saw MAB make the extraordinary decision to introduce baggage limitations for long haul passengers to Europe.

Citing safety concerns, the carrier temporarily banned check in luggage to destinations in Europe. No details were given but MAB seems to be in panic mode after the previous tragedies.

What a branding disaster! I presume that senior management made the decision only after a great deal of discussion that should have focussed on the likely reactions of consumers who were slowly coming back to the airline.

Unsurprisingly, the market erupted and the carrier was ridiculed globally with plenty of negative banter on social media. Unsurpringly, in less than a day MAB made a humiliating U-turn.

Malaysia Airlines - is this how you restore confidence in an airline?
Malaysia Airlines – is this how you restore confidence in an airline?

I for one am absolutely gobsmacked at this latest branding disaster. We were told last year that a new brand was to be launched in December yet there is no sign of the new brand. And the lack of an announcement about the rebrand delay needs to be addressed.

Following the fiasco, management attempted to justify the decision by claiming ‘unseasonably strong headwinds’ and a circuitous route was the cause.

Three days later, the carrier released a press release informing us that the overhaul of the airline was “bitter, and the fitness programme required to bring us back into shape would cause a lot of sweat and sometimes tears. But it would be rewarding in the end.”

I won’t reproduce any more of the press release because it goes on to suggest more effective competitors from the Middle East have increased MAB’s costs by 20% and that the deal with Emirates is a good thing for Malaysians. It also talks about ‘rebuilding confidence’ and a new ‘collaborative style’. You can read the full press release here.

I’d like to know how the airline is going to rebuild confidence when departments and management appears to be doing anything but collaborating. And if there is collaboration, then someone should have stood up and stopped this farce before it began.


Sir, I enjoyed reading your article and appreciate your passion, frustration and patriotism.

But I think in essence what you are suggesting is a suppression of the truth or as you call it the not so nice stories and a focus on a sort of ‘we’re the same as you so come here’ one size fits all approach to marketing Malaysia. Well, firstly in the social economy, you cannot suppress the truth but most important of all, communications do not build successful destinations.

As someone who builds destination brands for a living, but who also visited Malaysia as a tourist in 1987 before moving to live here in 1994 Malaysia’s branding problems are structural and will not be solved with communications. The main problems with Malaysia’s tourism industry are

1) Not enough investment in tourism products

2) Limited or misplaced invstment to get Malaysians on brand

3) Ineffective marketing due to use of outdated tactics

4) Misunderstanding of what is required to build a country brand

5) Weak enforcement on errant players and of course the infamous KL taxi drivers

6) A focus on volume not value.

When starting a journey, it is important to know where you are on the map otherwise you will keep going in the wrong direction. From what I can see, Malaysia’s tourism industry doesn’t have a map, is in a different place to where it thinks it is and doesn’t seem to know the destination but it is leaving anyway.

Please feel free to read https://brandconsultantasia.com/2013/09/05/back-to-the-drawing-board-for-brand-malaysia/ and

Wee Choo Keong


LAST week, I received a call from an old friend in England. He’s thinking of going for a faraway vacation with his family and there are a few countries on his list of potential destinations.

View original post 1,137 more words

You still need a plan to build a brand

A business needs a plan or as I prefer to call it, an organisational framework.

But the content of that plan and the way the plan is executed is changing.

That is because the world is so fluid.

Today, personnel have to be recruited not for their ability to sit an exam based on a course that is perhaps 2 or more years old (ancient history in today’s business environment) but on whether they have the skills and confidence to see events as they are and to have the confidence to make decisions and take risks based on what’s in front of them at a specific time.

Freedom to act, for the benefit of the business, within a framework.

Trust, collaboration, personalisation, flexibility, communication, value, pragmatism will build brands not ads, logos, creativity and deep pockets.

Use real life experiences to build your brands

Most advertising industry professionals will tell you that consumers are finding it hard to pay attention to traditional advertising.

 As a simple example from the automotive industry, in 2009, General Motors spent US$2.2 billion on advertising just in the United States. Despite this colossal investment, total 2009 sales were down 30 per cent on the previous year.

 Admittedly this was a tough year as the US tried to adjust to the economic downturn and the company went through a painful restructuring under bankruptcy protection.

 A recent article in the Economist stated it takes over US$1 billion to build a brand in Europe and the USA, using traditional marketing methods.

 I was reading through the papers recently and came across this image of a Land Rover in UK during the recent bad weather. I don’t know about you but this image made a huge impression on me.

 If I were Land Rover, I would ditch all my beautifully produced corporate collateral and just send this image out to all my prospects with an offer of a test drive at their convenience!