A brand roadmap

4D Branding, by Thomas Gad, published in February 2001 by Financial Times Prentice Hall; paperback, 256 pages, $40.95 ...

4D Branding, by Thomas Gad, published in February 2001 by Financial Times Prentice Hall; paperback, 256 pages, $40.95

As the discipline of branding matures, the rush is on to create ‘the’ system to explain it all in a nice, neat package. 4D Branding not only suggests a practical branding system we can use right out of the box, it also reminds us that branding is essentially a relationship between human beings.

Gad’s system involves what he calls the Brand Mind Space and the Brand Code. The former is made up of the functional, mental, social and spiritual elements of a brand (thus ’4D’). The Brand Code is the DNA of the organization, and includes customer benefits, competitive positioning, style characteristics, the brand’s role in society and vision for the future. These two elements are used as comprehensive reference points to guide the brand management process.

Gad reminds us that branding is the management of a relationship, and any relationship without emotion is stillborn: ‘Successful brand building is done by passion, not by obligation.’ By reinforcing the need for human qualities and a philosophical context for brand relationships, Gad provides a plausible insight into how to create a successful brand; one that connects with customers.

But 4D Branding could have done more for me. Gad glosses over how the Mind Space and Code actually interact – a crucial omission. His explanations of how the system assists managerial decision-making regarding brand extensions, brand measurement, etc., are superficial and, at some point, the book starts to feel like a brochure for his consulting services.

Like all relationships, branding is a process, and the system touted in this book is a roadmap. If you need a cohesive system, this is a pretty good one. Just don’t expect it to give you a lot of detail along the way.

BookMark Rating: 3 out of 5

Mark Szabo is an account director with Parallel in Calgary. He can be reached at mark.szabo@parallel.ca.