Who creates the best brands: Egotistical insaniacs or market researchers?

Management guru Tom Peters, in this brief post, obviously leans towards the egotistical “insaniacs.”

Brand Trump
Brand Martha
Brand Dubai (Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum)
Brand Apple/etc./etc./iPod (Steve)
Brand California Reborn (the Guvenator)

Surely these are among the more stunning Branding/World-changing stories of the last 20 years:

How many are the product of careful market research?
How many are the results of visionary insaniac dreamers?
How many are at least partially the product of rather well-developed egos?

(Are there any market-research-driven stories of a similar magnitude? Starbucks???)

I have to agree with Peters on at least one of those stunners: Steve Jobs. His ferocious focus on “insanely great products” has certainly produced some hot, “world-changing” brands: Mac, iPod, iPhone, Pixar.

No one is saying that market research — especially listening carefully to customers and their wants/needs/desires — is useless. But clearly a “visionary insaniac dreamer,” who drives his staff to create “insanely great” products, can produce not just incremental improvements but far more dramatic results that leapfrog the competition.

One Reply to “Who creates the best brands: Egotistical insaniacs or market researchers?”

  1. More on Steve Jobs:
    He’s been on a decades-long campaign to eliminate buttons on everything from keyboards to iPods to iPhones. (He even wears button-less shirts.) The relentless, “insaniac” goal is to achieve uncluttered, spare, simple, clean design. For example, the elegant iPhone uses a virtual keypad instead of actual buttons to acheive its sleek design and big screen.
    “When it comes to product design, Mr. Jobs functions like an exacting editor, challenging hardware engineers and industrial designers to trim unnecessary feautres that don’t add value to a product,” says a Wall Street Journal article (25 July 2007, subscription required).
    Link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118532502435077009.html

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