Everyone knows what a brand is. Right?

by Tony Fannin, president, BE Branded

This is one area of marketing that is hard to pin down because of the core nature of the quality. It’s a “soft” asset. It’s not numbers, accurately measured, or defined in a unified way. But we all know when it’s missing, from a company, a product line, or even on a personal level. In my 25 years of experience, I’ve run across various interpretations. They seem to have fallen into two camps. 

One, it seems most small businesses, entrepreneurs, and graphic designers define brand as a visual. It’s the logo, colors, fonts, and images. The second camp seem to be made up of larger companies & corporations and advertising & marketing driven agencies. They believe brand is about the matters of the heart and emotion. What singular quality do you stand for? I fall into the second camp.

Brand is about experience. It’s about who you are at the core and how will it add to your customer’s image. In the book “Reimagine”, Tom Peters states it this way: “Moving up the value chain means offering Something More. It means emphasizing the Soft Attributes of “products” and “services”—attributes such as convenience, warmth, companionship, beauty, trust, and Being Seriously Cool. There is a word that sums up all of those attributes: Experience. This is not a semantic quibble. It is the Essence of Life in the New Economy. And billions and billions of dollars are at stake.” Many times in a sales pitch, advertising campaign, web site, too many businesses lead with the numbers and with stats. This immediately makes your brand a commodity. If someone else has better numbers and stats, you lose. But, if you lead with the “heart” and follow up with the stats, you’ve not only made an authentic connection, but the numbers gives the “soft” attributes even more substance. In other words, you give customers the logical right to choose your brand even though they are really into what you deliver on the emotional side. All of this equates to more dollars. 

Think of it like this: we all say things like, “I know I shouldn’t get this, but I just have to have it.” How we buy is not logical. It’s very emotion driven. If your brand delivers the emotion AND offers a logical reason of why your brand, then you’ve tapped into something that is powerful, something that creates loyalty beyond price point and reason.

I believe the visual component is important, I’m a designer by trade, but the visual alone is not brand. The visuals are the interpretation of your brand’s emotional promise. Your brand needs to be alive throughout the company – employees, internal systems, IT systems, vendor partners, and especially your advertising marketing efforts both online and off line.

It’s been said by several marketing gurus about your brand, “If you don’t believe it. If your employees don’t believe it. Why do you think your customers will believe it?” And  you can’t deliver what you don’t believe.



About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

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