LEADER: Why consumers are not fooled by corporate brands

Nestle’s decision to throw its weight behind a corporate branding campaign (story, page 4) raises the question of why corporate branding is figuring so prominently on the marketing agenda.

Nestle’s decision to throw its weight behind a corporate branding

campaign (story, page 4) raises the question of why corporate branding

is figuring so prominently on the marketing agenda.



With the recent cases of Shell, Monsanto and British Nuclear Fuels, the

motive for a corporate push is clear: these are companies pleading to be

liked, to be forgiven for past sins and trusted in the future. Arguably,

Nestle, which is still trying to distance itself from the baby-milk

episode, also falls into this category.



But for most fmcg manufacturers, which have historically let their

brands do the talking, there are few obvious reasons to trumpet the

corporate name. Do consumers really care, or believe, that Kellogg’s

mission statement is ’Serving the Nation’s Health’? The important thing

is that it keeps on making good Corn Flakes. And will shoppers buy more

Nestle brands if they are reminded they are furthering the fortunes of

the world’s biggest food company?



We appreciate that research - from the Henley Centre and Business in the

Community to name but two - says consumers increasingly look behind

brands at the credentials of the parent company. But that doesn’t mean

they suddenly love big corporations. It’s still the case that the bigger

the company the less inclined people are to like it.



Underneath all the psycho-babble, the real reason most companies invest

in corporate branding is to inflate the chairman’s ego by showing off to

competitors and the City. The ’we’re bigger than you’ factor still has a

lot to answer for.