Category Archives: Branding

To Garner Trust, Keep the Brand Consistent

Repetition and consistencyA typical buyer will be exposed to at least 17 impressions of a company before considering doing business with it. At least that’s the statistic used by Jay Levinson of Guerrilla Marketing fame.

So doesn’t it stand to reason that those impressions had better be associated with the company in a consistent manner?  With all the impressions from so many sources, people can get overwhelmed, or more likely, people will ignore messages as best they can. Continue reading To Garner Trust, Keep the Brand Consistent

The brand platform begins with your mission statement

12-30-07-business-hand_writing.jpgIn building a corporate brand, or if you wish call it a corporate identity, I strongly suggest you begin with a brand platform.

The brand platform is a document that encompasses the many components upon which the brand is built. It is a way to focus these diverse elements so your brand can be consistent and relevant to the stakeholders you wish to relate to. Once prepared and approved at the very top management level, the platform should be used as a guide for all branding decisions, strategic and creative. It will also become an integral part of your company’s strategic plan.

Developing the brand platform will mean borrowing some elements from your existing strategic plan, beginning with the mission statement. But in case you’ve never created a mission statement, here are some thoughts about developing your first one. Continue reading The brand platform begins with your mission statement

Branding and Positioning Go Hand-in-Hand

Branding partners with positioning
Branding and positioning combine to deliver an integrated and powerful presence in the marketplace.

Branding, coupled with positioning, can differentiate your business and its products and services from your competitors, That combination can also establish a personality that is both unique and appealing to potential customers. It is a multifaceted,  process and discipline.  Continue reading Branding and Positioning Go Hand-in-Hand

Three more outstanding branding books

I mentioned in my last blog about choosing three branding books I’d recommend as the text for a “night school” class in branding. I promised reviews on three other branding books I’ve found helpful.

Since I focus on helping smaller organizations develop strong brands, the books I’ve chosen have that orientation. There are several other books I like a lot, but they’re more for big brands with big budgets. Several of them are academic texts by Kevin Lane Keller and David A. Aaker.

Branding books I recommend

Anyway, here are the “second-tier” branding books from my library.

Brand Aid

By Brad VanAuken is subtitled An Easy Reference Guide to Solving Your Toughest Branding Problems and Strengthening You Market Position. You can, and probably should begin this book at the beginning and read it straight through as you would a text book. But I find it valuable as a reference guide. Whenever I’m looking for a technique or process relevant to a client’s problem, I’ll find Brand Aid to be a great source. Mr. VanAuken has provided checklists, case studies and mini-tutorials on most major branding topics and issues. The book is organized in six parts: Introduction to Brand Management, Designing the Brand, Building the Brand, Leveraging the Brand, Other Brand Management Considerations, and finally, A Summary. Particularly helpful are two appendices, one on brand audits, the other on online brand management.

Integrated Branding

By F. Joseph LePla and Lynn M. Parker is another book taking a strategic approach to branding. The authors have developed an “Integrated Brand Model” involving three concentric circles that outline the three levels of activity that define brands: brand conveyors, brand drivers and organizational drivers.. The inner-most circle is designated “Organizational Drivers” (Mission, Values, Story). The next circle, “Brand Drivers”, consist of Principle, Personality and Associations. Brand Conveyors reside in the outer circle. They include communications and positioning, strategy and products. How it all fits together to form an integrated brand is discussed in depth.

Zag

By Marty Neumeier is the quickest read of any I’ve recommended. It, and a companion book,The Brand Gap, have simplified the ideas of branding. Both are fairly short books with big type. And both can be found in presentation form on Mr. Neumeier’s website.
I picked Zag over The Branding Gap for this blog because it speaks to the number one (in my opinion) issue in branding – differentiation. His premise is study your competition and do something they aren’t doing. As the book jacket proclaims, “Today you have to out-position, out-maneuver, and out-design the competition. The new rule? When everybody zigs, zag”. He outlines a 17-step process (simpler that it sounds) to do just that.

If you click on the titles, you’ll be directed to Amazon where you can buy them. I’ll make a small, commission if you buy.

So, that’s a total of six highly recommended books. Notice I didn’t include the highly readable and thought-provoking works by Seth Godin, Tom Peters or Guy Kawasaki. They’re helpful and useful, but don’t concentrate on branding per se. Next blog will feature three books that are not exclusively branding books, but ones that have helped be brand in unusual ways.

And if you have any favorites you’d like to share, please make a comment here and share your enthusiasm with others.

Branding for Bucks Naming Resources

Last blog I mentioned the three most useful reference books I use when generating name candidates.

But I neglected to publish the Amazon links to these volumes.

Here they are:

Word Menu by Stephen Glazier.

Rogets 21st Century Thesaurus edited by Barbara Ann Kipfer.

The Complete Word Book by Mary A. De Vries

In addition there are several other good sources of name candidates that I’ve had some success with. Several are “classic” reference books and the rest books I’ve picked up and found useful on more than one project.

The Synonym Finder by J.I.Rodale

Word Stems: A Dictionary by John Kennedy

Brewers Dictionary of Phrase & Fable, edited by Ivor H. Evans

Dictionary of Art and Archaeology by J.W. Mollett

Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion by W. L. Reese

Merriam Websters Geographical Dictionary

The Complete Rhyming Dictionary by Clement Wood

The links above were current at the time of posting. Several are out of print and only used copies are available, so you may find upon clicking the link for a particular volume that it’s sold out.

As promised, I’ll provide some info on web-based naming resources and software in future posts.