Lucas Conleys 10 Most Overrated Brands

Lucas Conley, contributing writer for Fast Company Magazine, author of Obsessive Branding Disorder and blogger, has put together a list for the Boston Globe, of he what says are the 10 Most Overrated Brands.

Conley argues that,

companies are desperate to capture the interest of fickle consumers. More are increasingly relying on image makeovers to boost their businesses; often more than the harder work of actually improving their products.

With that said, his list includes many of marketers long time favorite brands. Conley says he

offers us 10 brands that have stayed in the fridge well past their expiration dates.

I’ve included Lucas’ full list below:

  1. Southwest Airlines
  2. The Gap
  3. The Los Angeles Lakers
  4. Oprah
  5. MTV
  6. Dunkin’ Donuts
  7. Victoria’s Secret
  8. Apple
  9. Trump
  10. The Everybrand


What do you think?

Have some of marketing’s “role model brands” lost their luster?

What do you mean overrated anyway?

A strong brand is a vaccine against misfortune, i.e. its ability to recover from blows. But if it’s only a leader effect, is it worth spending money on promoting a brand that’s not destined to be the number one brand?

It’s not about being the number one brand. It is important to know how much the brand is developed in four directions (functional, social, mental and spiritual). 

Take for example the situation in the fast-food market in Europe. The McDonald’s brand, which is considered the top brand, is suffering huge losses. The functional dimension (food quality) of McDonald’s prevailed over the rest – but it is not decisive. The social dimension – an attempt to promote a certain way of life associated with McDonald’s – has suffered a clear setback, especially in the wake of certain anti-Americanism in Europe. 

The mental dimension did not develop at all, and the spiritual dimension even contributed to the overall crisis in which the restaurant chain found itself. Despite all the attempts of McDonald’s to “show up” in environmental programs, the company is constantly accused of environmental pollution. And this is a top brand, actually the number one brand.

Another example is Nike. The company has been actively developing the social dimension of the brand, creating a community of athletes around it. Because of it, not only professionals but also amateurs want to join the community. 

Then Nike did a great job of measuring the brand mentally, “looking into the heads” of athletes, finding out what they define as the foundation for their wins. So the famous slogan “Just do it” appeared. As for the spiritual side of the Nike brand, its mission was to support athletes, all those who are interested in sports, and it was a great step.

So, I would say that creating a great brand does not depend on the money spent on the brand. Does it mean I can just buy a logo and other assets and concentrate on the above-meantioned dimensions?

Yes, examples when a great brand was created and promoted with little money definitely exist.

The story of the same Nike comes to mind right away. The development of the logo itself costs about $25, I think. A certain entrepreneur, a former sportsman, thought about creating a line of products for athletes. He ordered the logo from an art school student, and his shoes were so popular with athletes that they were willing to wear it and advertise it for free. The question of costs in this case is far from being the most important.

By the way, there is a movement of consumers in the world against paying extra money only for the brand. Could it ever happen that the movement will grow so big to dissolve the branding value altogether?

I don’t think that this idea can unite all the consumers – even in a communist society, it hasn’t been possible. 

There will always be people who want to be different from others, buying more expensive goods, although this may not be the best way to fulfill their lust for uniqueness or their status. People don’t get so much a product as they get a sense of their own uniqueness, pride, and dignity.

On the other hand, a cheap bookcase from IKEA will be much more expensive for, say, the father who bought it and assembled it for his son. And the son will be able to see with his own eyes that the father is doing something for him, not just buying. 

For example, children from rich families may well have an idea that everything in life can be bought, including people, and they will build their lives on this principle.

To sum it up on a branding value

I’d like to point out that alongside with overrated brands there are a huge number of undervalued companies right now as well. The market has the tools to assess the material assets of a given company but is not yet ready to make an adequate assessment of intangible values – psychological, emotional, spiritual.


Author’s bio

Dmitrii B. is the CEO and founder of GRIN tech – a full-cycle digital agency doing design, marketing, and development alongside white-label agency & media outreach solutions.