What is a brand?

This booklet is the text of a speech given by Stephen King, at the 1970 Advertising Association Conference, whose theme was “Sharpen up or shut up.”

Stephen King, Director in charge of Account Planning and Research, J. Walter Thompson Company Limited.

The programme for the Advertising Association's 1970 conference started with a survey of advertisers, to get an idea of what they wanted to discuss. Several themes emerged. In particular, through unease at the growing power of retailers, those of discounts, below-the-line and private label. In fact, all the chosen themes converged on one point—that is, the role and future of the manufacturer's brand. How can the brand yield ever-increasing profits in face of retailer pressure and private label? What sort of advertising can help the brand? How can we use research to control and measure this advertising?