Sunday, June 9, 2013

Summer Reading Series: Branding Is More Than Just Logos

With the arrival of summer, many of us have the time and inclination to catch up on our reading. But whether you read books, magazines, or use tablets or e-readers, you may want a few recommendations. My summer reading series will introduce you to a diverse array of worthwhile and insightful marketing and management books. So without further ado, here’s the second book of the Debbie Laskey Summer Reading Series.

How do you define a brand? Ted Matthews, who has over 40 years of marketing experience, knows what brand really means. His timeless book, “Brand – It Ain’t the Logo – It’s what people think of you,” provides a refresher for anyone who lives and breathes brand marketing on a daily basis.

“A brand is the sum total impression and memory of every remarkable, every so-so, and every negative experience with any and all touchpoints of an organization. A brand is the personality of an organization, product, or service and is judged and assessed a value by everyone it touches…These perceptions of value may, or may not, be what you want them to be. Which suggests a fact that may surprise you: your brand isn’t really yours. You don’t own it – all the people thinking about you do.

According to Matthews, the only synonym for brand is culture – corporate culture. Businesses with world-famous brands have world-famous cultures. Consider the Walt Disney Company: it features Disney University for its employees, and it uses its own Disney lingo: customers are guests, and employees are cast members. Consider Starbucks with its different color aprons for different levels of coffee-making expertise, and its employees are called Baristas. And consider Apple – the company is known for trend-setting products made by people who have a zealous passion for technology and the company.

Something that is related to culture is brand storytelling. Matthews recommends that you “tell brand stories at every opportunity. Illustrate your corporate values in action by retelling the company’s founding whenever someone new joins the team.” Think of how many technology companies started in a garage: Hewlett-Packard, Apple, and Microsoft. And Michael Dell sold computers from his college dorm room. Stories form the core of brands and should be part of the daily brand marketing strategy.

In the words of investor Warren Buffet, “It takes 20 years to build a brand, it takes 5 minutes to lose it.” Therefore, Matthews recommends passing on the Super Bowl television commercials that cost close to a million dollars, and instead, focus on the long-term process of building a brand that has value.

There are 7 brand foundation elements when understanding brands:
[1] CORE PURPOSE: Why we exist.
[2] VISION: Where we are going, and how we’ll know we’re there.
[3] MISSION: What we do every day to get there.
[4] VALUES: What we believe in – our principles.
[5] POSITION: How we make a difference.
[6] POSITIONING STATEMENT: How we say (explain) our difference.
[7] CHARACTER: How we act – our voice.

Does everyone in your business from the CEO/President on down to the assistants hired yesterday clearly understand all of these elements? If not, how can you expect your customers to understand why they should buy your brand?

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1 comment:

  1. Very informative post! There is a lot of information here.


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