What companies need to focus on

Fifty years ago, Peter Drucker said that "any business enterprise has two - and only these two - basic functions: Innovation and marketing".
It's unfortunate that so many companies still struggle with both; the good news is that there is so much potential for improvement and progress.

Quality is a means, not an end

Quality is often the main message brands want to convey. However, this is not an effective branding message because quality is relative and even expected. Quality is not your end-game, but the beginning, and should be treated that way.

Loosen the reins

"We have to strike the right balance between being in touch and being in control. The irony is, the more in control we are, the more out of touch we become."
A.G. Lafley, Procter & Gamble, on brand management. He actually said this already in 2006 which just makes it all the more true. We had a lot of these discussions at Levi's, my stance being that strong brands only get stronger by facilitating that consumers can talk about it (the brand), rather than constantly saying 'look at me, I'm a great brand and don't you dare say anything different' which, honestly, just comes across as desperate.