Category Archives: Branding

Down-to-Earth Commentary about Branding from the Ivory Tower

Academic commenting on real branding issuesI’ve just discovered a new web site with some fine insights into the current branding and marketing approaches of the big companies.

I reached it through bNet, an authority site for business issues and trends.

Specifically, their framed site, The View from Harvard Business. There I picked a category, Marketing, and found a treasure trove of blog postings by Sean Silverthorne, editor of HBS Working Knowledge. His blogs address current branding issues and implications of technology on branding and marketing. Good stuff. And not just for academics and big-business gurus, either. Continue reading Down-to-Earth Commentary about Branding from the Ivory Tower

An effective brand produces tension and buzz

Tension makes for strong brandsIt’s frustrating when clients opt for the familiar rather than the unique.

They may resort to an informal “market research” poll to determine if a unique brand concept is “meaningful”. The results are obvious: friends and associates go with the familiar rather than the unique. They do this because they don’t want to encourage the entrepreneur to take a bigger chance than he or she already has.

The research is usually instigated because many entrepreneurs are not comfortable with a fresh branding concept in the first place. They, too are seeking comfort just as intensely as they are novelty. And though they wish their brand to stand out, they don’t want to offend anyone. So comfort often wins out at the expense of a differentiated brand, and the brand never raises above the static. Continue reading An effective brand produces tension and buzz

A type font does not a brand make

Over-used type fontsQuite often I see a local retailer or service provider adopt a type face that’s fairly unique as their logo. There’s quite an array of these semi-obscure faces available through sign companies and printers.

They sometimes masquerade under alias names, but these insidious fonts have proliferated until they are no longer unique. Incidentally, the reason for the same font being named differently from different suppliers is that type face designs cannot be copyrighted or patented, but font names can be copyrighted.

But these faces, when presented to the untrained eye as samples in the printer’s list, do appear unique. Continue reading A type font does not a brand make

Branding begins as a strategic process

Branding workshopHere’s the first question I ask when I do a branding workshop: “What’s your definition of a brand?”. The answers are as varied as there are people in the room.

“Branding is your corporate image.”

“Branding is your good name.”

“Branding is a unique logo.”

“Branding has to do with what your facility looks like.”

“Branding is a memorable slogan.”

“Branding is your company’s personality.”

“Branding is advertising.”

“Branding is buying ad specialties with your name on them.”

“Branding has to do with building customer relationships.” Continue reading Branding begins as a strategic process

Make branding a priority when hatching something new

Hatching a business?Many entrepreneurs say they aren’t ready to spend time and money to brand their new bootstrap business. Not yet anyway.

Instead, they believe in doing “first things first”. To them that is procuring working capital, recruiting key personnel, developing product/service, building a distribution chain and launching the product or service.

Their approach to branding is “we’ll do it once cash is flowing and the important huddles are behind us.”

They never consider that an integrated brand aligned with the company goals and values might help them interest savvy investors, recruit top performing people, produce a product/service based on meeting corporate and consumer expectations, establish first-rate distribution partners and motivated suppliers. Continue reading Make branding a priority when hatching something new

Branding can boost direct response metrics

All direct marketeers know that converting prospects into a customers is the life blood of the direct marketing business.
 
Some direct response marketers decry brandingIt’s not the first sale that really matters – many willingly take a loss on the first sale just to acquire that new customer.
 
Most have figured out how much business an average customer will do with the firm over a number of years. It’s probably an order of magnitude larger than the initial sale because these marketers continually ask their customer to buy more stuff. They send catalogs, sales letters, bargain flyers, e-mails. Continually. Religiously. Obsessively.
 
All this communication develops in the collective mind of customers a position about the company. Low cost, reliable, great guarantees, unique products, whatever.
 
In cases where companies aren’t building brand and establishing a positive position consciously and consistently, their customers will do it for them. Continue reading Branding can boost direct response metrics