Branding Refined -

Branding Refined


My old Ad Missions colleague Andris Pone has posted a poll asking readers for their opinions on the brand of the decade. Among the candidates are Apple, Starbucks, Volvo, and Porter. Unsurprisingly, Apple and Porter are in a dead heat at 27% of votes apiece.

I’m going to have to go with Porter. While I recognize the design genius of Apple and its rock-solid positioning, I just can’t stand the company’s products. Porter on the other hand… holy hanna. The trick for Porter is going to be following through on the “Flying Refined” brand promise as it adds routes and customers. Part of what made it so appealing in the early years was not just the convenience, but the fact that the planes were mostly empty. It was like flying an executive jet for the price of a Via rail ticket.

The company is still doing a fine job of pushing the brand clearly consistently through every vector, but I’ve flown it a couple of times recently, and the inevitable delivery flaws are creeping in. A delay at the gate here, a messy lounge area there — when elite service meets mass appeal, something has to give, doesn’t it? I hope not.

Here’s Andrew Coyne, again from the early days.

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Branding Refined

  1. Unsurprisingly, Apple and Porter are in a dead heat at 27% of votes apiece.

    Says more about his readership demographics than the brands. Interesting list of choices.

    • agreed. it also ignores the ubiquity of starbucks, even in the wake of consolidation efforts. while it is no longer the success it was – it part due to saturation – the starbucks brand revolutionized its market in a way none of those other companies even approached, let alone matched.

  2. Porter? Never heard of 'em.

    • Me neither. I'm guessing that it's some kind of airline. Does it have any routes in Canada?

      At any rate, their brand awareness with me is zero, compared to instant recognition for the others.

      • They're Ontario-centric, with most flights flying either to or from the Toronto Island Airport. Google Porter Airlines if you're interested in what makes this brand appealing (I'm not an adBot, after all).

  3. Bit of an odd list. I'd have to say Hyundai has done more for their brand in the last ten years than Volvo (to be fair, I don't see a ton of Volvos on the roads around here).

    Also, Starbucks over Tim Horton's?

    • I would place Toyoto above Hyundai and Volvo – Prius in particular, helping move Toyoto into the #1 car manufacturer in the world in the naughts. This is no small matter. But I doubt people who fly Porter drive Priuses.

      • Quite right – I guess Hyundai comes to mind as a brand that was initially crap being reinvented. (And I drive a Toyota, for the record).

        Porter just seems far too Toronto-centric to count.

        • See what I mean by their effective branding? – they've got me combining Kyoto and Toyota into Toyoto.

          • Which will annoy Honda when the Toyoto Accord is released by 2020.

          • well played!

        • I agree about Porter. As much as I like it, every flight goes through Toronto, so most Canadians would know nothing about it.

  4. Me, myself and I am the brand of the decade.

    • I think all of your permutations have fragmented and cannibalized the "tiggy-anon" market segment. Good pander to the burka crowd, mind you, in this version.

      • That's just what the problem with "branding" is. It prevents the product/service/ideas from being considered on a basis resembling anything related to standards of excellence or quality, whether related to strictly functional considerations, or those more esoteric/aesthetic. That's fine for material goods (or at least, trying to do anything about it would be intolerably illiberal), but it's been a complete and total disaster for the modern economy.

        • Well, I don't know about your last part. You'd have to be more specific.

          Does a company like Microsoft stifle innovation, or does it enable it to be widely disseminated through taking over smaller upstarts? Probably both. Stifle it too much and another competitor emerges from a different angle (Google). Brands/products have life cycles.

  5. "I just can't stand the company's products."

    I think some of their products are great, I just can't stand the people and/or 'lifestyle' that comes with them. It is like I have to join a cult just because I happen to like their computers.

  6. I'd have to go with Apple.

    Other than Ottawa folks that I follow on Twitter I don't hear anyone talking about Porter. I'm not even sure what their Logo looks like.