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The Jim in question isn’t the legendary captain of Starship Enterprise. This is a different Jim entirely.

Jim Stengel has come up with the controversial idea that brand vision, mission and positioning should be consigned to the marketing history books. In their place he is advocating we should subscribe to the idea of ‘brand ideal’. Although our Jim has nothing to do with space exploration the traditional brand strategists, on first hearing his theory, will probably think he’s on a different planet.

Jim defines ‘brand ideal’ as ‘a shared goal of improving people’s lives’. If that sounds decidedly unworldly to you, perhaps you’ll reserve judgement when we reveal that he was Proctor and Gamble’s global marketing manager for seven very successful years. In that time he achieved outstanding results across P&G lead brands in 200 global territories. After leaving to set up his own consultancy he embarked on a study to see if his approach to brands could be substantiated beyond any doubt. The study looked at 50,000 brands over the ten year period 2001 – 2011. The conclusion was that brands that had a ‘brand ideal’ at their core outperformed all others. The top 50 of such brands generated a return on investment 400 per cent greater than Standard and Poor’s top 500 companies. You could say that we had more to gain by not shouting Jim Stengel’s game-changing brand insights from the rooftops. But as true disciples of his ‘brand ideal’ we believe that ‘a shared goal of improving people’s lives (and brands)’ will serve us well.


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