Branding News Roundup – 12/08/05

Coca-Cola previews global advertising campaign – AdAge (free reg. required) is featuring the full story on the sneak peak Coca-Cola offered at its new global advertising campaign for its flagship brand, campaign that carries the theme Welcome to the Coke side of life

Brand Gamble: Mergers and Aquisitions — the article published on brandchannel by Alycia de Mesa is addresses the problems that appear when two brands join in the holy M&A, and they sometimes overlook their first love: the customer. Hard to belive but it happens all the time. The resulting company may be stronger and bigger but it doesn’t really matter if the customer’s great expectations are not met.

It’s the Purpose Brand, Stupid — Wall Street Journal article on the best brands that are created around a purpose, entirely published on Brand On Blog

All Branding is Divided into Three Parts — interesting classification of the brands made by Warren who considers three branding approaches: independent branding, endorsed branding and monolithic branding. – if you are into the employer branding concept, here is a site for you with insights on the matter and some interesting case studies on Microsoft, Reuters, Unilever and Tesco

Small Business and Branding

Interesting issue posted at, regarding small and/or emerging businesses and branding.

Answering the question: what’s so urgent about branding, when there are so many things to worry about when growing a business like making payroll and meeting sales goals? the answer comes like this:

Branding a small or emerging business is key to the early success of that business. It is the quickest way for the company to express who it is and what it does. Inaccurate branding of a new business can make it difficult for people to fundamentally understand why the business exists in the first place.

For start-up and small businesses, branding can often take a backseat to other considerations, such as funding and product development. This is unfortunate; a company’s brand can be key to its success. Dollar for dollar, it is as important and vital as any other start-up activity.

Basically you have to know who you are, what you’re doing, where do you want to go and how will your customer find out about it and these are as important as getting the funds to do them.

Read the full article here

10 Rules To Turn a Small Business In a Big Brand

Starting from the idea that in the last few years, we have witnessed a growing number of small companies that are starting to realise that branding is not the reward for success but the reason why strong brands become strong brands in the first place, The Business Times of Singapore is publishing an interesting list of 10 fundamental rules of branding, nothing new, but still interesting:

1 Perception is the truth

The battlefield of branding is in the minds of the customers. And as far as customers are concerned, perception is the truth, regardless of the facts.

2 Fortune favours the first

Many experts argue that the first mover advantage is a fallacy as there have been many first movers who failed. Being first only gives you the opportunity to lodge your brand in customers’ minds first. Fail to exploit that advantage and your competitors can, and will, catch up.

3 If you are not first, move the battlefield

If you are not first in the market, then you might need to shift the battlefield by creating a new category in which they can be first.

4 Keep a clear focus

If you stand for everything, you stand for nothing. Focused brands concentrate on owning one thing in the mind instead of creating line extensions indiscriminately.

5 Differentiate or sell cheap

In the absence of any perceived difference between products, customers will focus on the price.

6 Use PR for brand building, advertising for maintenance

Many companies make the mistake of using advertising to launch their brands. As advertising is a self-declaration, it has near-zero credibility in the eyes of consumers. Public relations, however, involves what others say about you, and hence carries with it the weight of third party endorsement.

7 Find a great name

In the long term, the name of your products is what separates you from your competitors as your unique ideas and concepts can be copied. To ensure greater brand recall, a short, unique and memorable name should be adopted.

8 Be absolutely consistent

Successful branding requires unwavering consistency

9 Find an enemy

To have credibility, you need to have an enemy. What would Superman be without Lex Luthor? Competition between brands creates excitement in the media and with the customer base, thus helping the category grow.

10 You may need a second brand

Your brand cannot stand for everything, thus necessitating the launch of a second brand in order to enter a new category. It is advisable, however, to launch a new brand only when your existing one is a dominant player in its category. If you struggle to increase sales in a category you know well, what are the chances of you doing well in a category you know nothing about?

Read full article here.

Best Marketing Book of 2005

strategy+business, published by the leading global management and technology firm Booz Allen Hamilton, has selected ProfitBrand: How to Increase the Profitability, Accountability and Sustainability of Brands by Nick Wreden as the best marketing book of 2005.

Mr. Wreden takes ambitious steps in explaining the significance of “sustainability” in customer relationships and the value of measuring marketing spending to establish accountability and profitability. Sustainability is critical, since by some estimates 80-95 per cent of products fail to become brands, he writes. Sustainability is also important because more than two-thirds of purchases are one-off buys. Only a brand focused on sustainability will take the steps that lead to second, third or even a lifetime of purchases.

ProfitBrand amplifies this concept, known in direct-marketing circles as the true value of a brand: “A brand is not built by acquiring customers; it is built by keeping them,” he writes. “Most competitive product advantages can be duplicated. The one advantage that cannot be duplicated is customer relationships.” Branding strategies that aim to make a company No. 1 in the market, for example, are doomed to failure, Mr. Wreden argues. That’s because brand sustainability can be achieved only on the basis of relationships formed on customer terms, not company terms.

Read the full review of the book here. (free registration required).

Other leading business books selected by the editors at Strategy + Business in marketing categories include:

10 Branding Insights and Opportunities

Leading South African brand consultancy, Interbrand Sampson, uses global insight from parent, Interbrand, to bring 10 branding insights and opportunities to the local market:

1. Clarity

In practice, clarity of vision, values and positioning overall, are often given insufficient attention. The majority of corporate and brand visions are interchangeable, bland and viewed with cynicism. In an over-communicated world, lack of clarity will substantially reduce effectiveness and efficiency; and complex brand and sub-brand structures without a real audience rationale will reduce this still further.

2. Brand as central organizing principle

The world’s most valuable brands use their brand as the central organising principle for all products and services, corporate organisation, structure and behaviour, environments and communications. They are brand centric. In this way, they ensure that their promise to and relationship with the customer is constantly delivered and refreshed.

(Well I tend to agree more with Douglas Rushkoff, author of the provocative new book Get Back in the Box, who urges companies to focus on products, not branding. But well this should be the number one advice coming from a branding agency, wouldn’t it? at&t bought it.)

3. Brand as a total experience

The success of experience-based brands at building deeper customer relationships at the expense of solely product-based brands argues strongly for every brand to think about its total chain of experience – from visual identity to advertising, product, packaging, PR, in-store environment – and increasingly round-the-clock presence and availability online.

4. More compelling and imaginative expressions of brand identity

The ability to break through brand proliferation and communications clutter depends on imaginative and innovative creative expression. Every opportunity to communicate counts, and every channel, from marque to distinctive corporate communications, from the office environment to the person answering the phone.

5. The brand as platform for innovation

In the constant battle to stay ahead of current and future competitors, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get sustainable competitive advantage through product development alone. Using a distinctive brand platform as a starting point for innovation in all areas of operation and experience can release more distinctive results – as well as being more effective and cost efficient. Use the brand platform as a springboard to look at growth categories for the future and in the context of consumer trends – and examine what your brand could distinctively bring.

6. Brands need profound protection

It is estimated that 9% of the world trade is counterfeited. Brand owners must use the full weight of the law, quickly and publicly, to prevent value loss and degradation. Legally ‘ring-fencing’ your brand should be a never ending process.

7. Understanding the value of your brand

Use brand value as a core measure of people’s performance, which both built momentum and created sustainable premium growth. Brand values also crucial management information for mergers, acquisitions and divestments, which will continue in the future as markets shake out and consolidate.

8. Effective and efficient brand monitoring and measurement

It can be tempting for organisations to do a brand programme, and not put in proper monitoring and measurement – and indeed support – systems to maintain them properly. The most successful organisations integrate these systems into their day to day operations and plans.

9. CSR as core social responsibility

In an all-seeing digital world, and in a sharper business environment where employees at all levels can be ambassadors or saboteurs for the company’s reputation, there really will be no hiding places any more. Organisations will have no choice but to be transparent in their dealings and fulfil their promises, or to have transparency forced on them. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) seems to be an overused buzz term in too many organisations today, and a whole new industry has grown up around it. Although good intentions may be there, all too often organisations look at
CSR as an insurance policy, or a more sophisticated form of cause-related marketing, rather than as core to their operations.

10. Always act like a leader brand

What can be termed a ‘leader brand’ today is not a brand leader in the old fashioned sense, reflecting scale and muscle alone. Rather, it reflects a newer, restless and agenda-setting leadership across all areas of philosophy and operations, inside and out.