Here’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
There are several approaches to differentiating your business, product or service. As mentioned previously, looking inside at your strengths, your corporate culture and your vision, mission and values is a good place to start.
Then overlay that core with a look at competitive activity and consumer perceptions to see what positions are already taken by competitors and which may still be open and attractive and a fit for your offering.
Many companies take a different approach. Continue reading Brand differentiation: price doesn’t cut it
As I spend some time discoursing on brand differentiation, I thought readers might like an authoritative source on the subject.
The best I know is the book, Differentiate or Die. It’s written by Jack Trout, the co-author with Al Ries of the ground-breaking book, Positioning: the Battle for Your Mind. For Differentiate or Die, Jack teams up with Steve Rivkin.
If you go to Jack’s web site you’ll also see he has recently updated the book.
The book is an easy read even though it covers some complex issues and concepts. It attempts to demonstrate both the necessity and possible approaches to developing a differentiating strategy.
Since I’ve gone out on a limb and suggested that differentiation is the most important plank of a brand platform, I’ll write several blogs on the subject, and I’ll use Differentiate or Die as a jumping off spot. In fact, I’ll quote their words frequently.
In building a brand platform from which your branding strategies, decisions, elements and activities will arise; the most significant plank is probably the way you plan to differentiate your brand.
This is how you will determine your positioning strategy. It is the thing that will set you apart from competitors in the minds of your customers and prospects.
So I will devote several blogs to this subject.
In this post I’ll generally speak to the importance of differentiation and delineate some guidelines in formulating a differentiation strategy. Then in subsequent posts I’ll describe several approaches and differentiating concepts. Continue reading Brand differentiation: a key plank in the branding platform
This plank in a brand platform has to do with your industry and your product category(s).
I touched on this with the post about competitive intelligence. But now, from a little different perspective, I’ll .
I would first want to know what industry analysts think of the industry in general, and how they define product categories. These opinions and observations are probably more impartial than your own, and may be more from a consumer’s eye view. There are publicly-available reports from Standard and Poors, Hudsons, Dun and Bradstreet as well as research materials from investment brokers. Continue reading Brand platforms should contain industry and product category vitals
During this decade, much has been written and discussed about the phenomenon of “cult brands”.
The two most powerful brands in this category: Harley-Davidson and Apple. I won’t go into all the reasons those two have flourished as cult brands. We can observe their unique presence in our society ourselves.
One that wrote authoritatively about cult branding was BJ Bueno. I whole-heartedly recommend his 2002 book, The Power of Cult Branding (Random House 2002). I recently visited his website and found he had written a companion workbook Cult Branding Workbook. Continue reading Cult branding: how to do it.