Branding – A Promise to Your Customers

by SMD 

Branding – What Does Your Company Stand For?

I was exploring at Trump U and found this audio lesson on Branding by Don Sexton
Professor of Business at Columbia University. What follows are my notes and some of my own opinions [of course].

Components of Branding:

  1. Identifier
      -Name, Logo and Colors
  2. Attributes
      -What people think of when they hear your name
  3. Association
      -Joining of Identifier and Attributes [what comes to your mind when you think of a company]

The main takeaway from this audio is to focus your branding efforts. If you feel you company is good at ten different things. Then choose one to build your brand around.

When choosing a brand, asking yourself a couple questions can clarify the process:

  1. What do you want to be known for?
      an example is Volvo - know for safety
  2. What is the main thing about your products that you want your customers to know?
  3. What single benefit are you building your brand on?

Effective branding can take a concerted effort over time. The brand focus needs to be present in every decision made and also needs to be reinforced with staff on a regular basis. If you are rolling out a major campaign that targets “Friendliness” as your company’s brand, your staff had better be friendly, because the effort of the campaign can be very easily negated by not having everyone onside.

The biggest mistakes made in branding are not focusing on a single feature, trying to stretch an existing brand beyond what the customer’s perceptions will tolerate [this is akin to a famous rap musician releasing a country album] and lastly not consciously creating a brand.

A brand can have tremendous value both internally [can be used to focus and clarify decision making] and externally [used to create targeted and relevant marketing campaigns]. The other benefit to building a brand is that it can take on a value of it’s own – think: T-Shirts with your logo! Trump, Apple, Coke etc all benefit tremendously from the brand image they have built.

Final thought: “Your brand is whatever your customer says it is!” It is not easy to create a winning brand [there are no tricks or gimmicks], but it is impossible without a conscious plan.

Another excellent read for branding is “Become a Category of One” by Joe Calloway.

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