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You've raised this point more than once, but it just can't be said enough: brand image must harmonize with the reality of the product.

A lot of marketers think people are stupid. They're not. Consumers are distracted and inattentive, which is an altogether different thing.

So gild the lily if you wish. You might get someone to buy your product or use your service. Once. But when it fails to meet their expectations -- as it will, since marketing doesn't reflect the true ethos of the product -- you're in trouble. You'll never correct that buyer's disappointment, and they'll be more than happy to influence those around them not to buy again.

I always wondered why Microsoft released the Zune media player under their own brand. When I think Microsoft, I think business software: spreadsheets, Exchange, Word, and so on. Not the too-hip-for-the-room, latter day hippie conceptual marketing that was floated to launch Zune. It's tough to be hip when you've got a well-deserved and lucrative image as the bean counter company. It made Zune an uphill fight and didn't add value to their main brand.

It hasn't worked. Anyone surprised?

Gianandrea -- You say you worked with ING Direct and that they are not scared by innovation. Flexibility, the ability to learn from listening to feedback and observing behavior, and the willingness to "let go" of central control are all hallmarks of innovative thinking.

Lewis -- Do I have other choices for my banking needs? I surely do. Do I want to bank somewhere else? Why would I leave a good experience?

You were wowed by the experience! Imagine that? When will all businesses recognize that it is first and foremost about the experience?

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