How fast do you want to become a brand?

by Tony Fannin, president, BE Branded

When I meet with some clients, they say, “I would like to become a brand quickly.” What they don’t see is the work behind the scenes that build up to that “overnight success”. And, like most overnight successes, it’s 15 years in the making. In today’s world, it is possible to get name recognition quickly because of technology, but there are trade offs. Here are a few points to consider:

• Speed = investment – Many want to depend solely on word-of-mouth. That’s fine. Social media also helps that along. But, that is more of a slow burn strategy. Word-of-mouth and social media is no guarantee that it will catch on. And, even if it does, there’s no telling what the message will be. Like all wildfires, you don’t have any control, good or bad. If you have time and want to slowly build your brand, this is not a bad course to take. If you’re in more of a hurry, marketing investment needs to be a large part of the strategy. Marketing is the accelerant to helping social media and word-of-mouth to catch fire.

• Technology = speed – There’s no question that technology makes it possible to get your name out quickly to so many groups. It can help speed up the process of bringing awareness to your brand and name. There are many examples of companies who are able to strap the technology rocket onto their name and get it going skyward. The main point to keep in mind is that technology is not a strategy, it’s an enabler. It can get your name out there, but then what? What does your brand stand for? Why should people care? Technology is not a substitute for strategic brand building. Without purposeful strategy, it’s a house of cards with no long-term sustainability.

• Technology = easy to be replaced – The flip side of using technology as your rocket, others can use the same tool. In today’s low-attention span, it’s very easy to be a has been before you ever get established. New players, with newer stuff, and newer features make sustainable advantage no longer a factor. Everyone has the same tools and can use the same rocket. The thing they can’t duplicate is your genuine brand position. Your core DNA of who you are and what you mean to your customers.

• Shooting star = early burnout – This is not uncommon. A bright, flashing brand zooms to the forefront only to be forgotten a few years later. When this happens you know that the brand is all show and no substance. Brands are living, breathing entities, not just a name or logo. Your brand without depth and authenticity, is no different than a one-hit-wonder.

There are many examples of companies who have leveraged technology, WOM, social media, and marketing to help accelerate their businesses as legitimate brands and not just fads. Google, Red Bull, and Swiffer are just a few examples. Speed is not a strategy. A deliberate vision and plan is the key to establishing your company as a true brand and as a true success. In the end, remember, name recognition is not branding.


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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