The Brand Underground

From the NYTimes on new & young branding and brands:

It is really a process of attaching an idea to a product. Decades ago that idea might have been strictly utilitarian: trustworthy, effective, a bargain. Over time, the ideas attached to products have become more elaborate, ambitious and even emotional. This is why, for example, current branding campaigns for beer or fast food often seem to be making some sort of statement about the nature of contemporary manhood. If a product is successfully tied to an idea, branding persuades people — consciously or not — to consume the idea by consuming the product. Even companies like Apple and Nike, while celebrated for the tangible attributes of their products, work hard to associate themselves with abstract notions of nonconformity or achievement. A potent brand becomes a form of identity in shorthand.

10 Rules of Emotional Branding

Between the old concept of brand awareness and the new concept of Emotional Branding, a dialogue must take place that involves this changing of consumer reality in the decision process and brings a dimension of personalized relationship into the equation.

Here is a list of 10 very important rules of emotional branding from the interesting Mark Gobe’s book Emotional Branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People:

1. From Consumers To People: Consumers buy, people live.

2. From Product To Experience: Products fulfill needs, experiences fulfill desires.

3. From Honesty To Trust: Honesty is expected. Trust is engaging and intimate. It needs to be earned.

4. From Quality To Preference: Quality for the right price is a given today. Preference creates the sale.

5. From Notoriety To Aspiration: Being known does not mean that you are also loved!

6. From Identity To Personality: Identity is recognition. Personality is about character and charisma!

7. From Function To Feel: The functionality of a product is about practical or superficial qualities only. Sensorial design is about experiences.

8. From Ubiquity To Presence: Ubiquity is seen. Emotional presence is felt.

9. From Communication To Dialogue: Communication is telling. Dialogue is sharing.

10. From Service To Relationship: Service is selling. Relationship is acknowledgment.

Small Business and Branding

Branding weekend food for thought:

Karen Post, author of Brain Tattoos: Creating Unique Brands That Stick in Your Customers’ Minds

Your brand is not your logo or tagline, but the sum of what your business does every day. It’s what the market thinks, feels, and expects from you.

If you want to make the buyer’s choice easy and finish first, you’ve got to be truly distinct and communicate those attributes on all touch points every day.

Bill Schley, author of Why Johnny Can’t Brand: Rediscovering the Lost Art of the Big Idea

Small businesses can do this better than giant corporations, because they have the passion for their business, an understanding of their business, and live or die for it. There are no layers of bureaucracy between them and a great brand idea, like in big organizations


Best Global Brands by Value – 2006

The previously announced Interbrand & BusinessWeek 2006 Best Global Brands by brand value is finally out with no major movements in the top 10.

Brand value is calculated as the net present value of the earnings the brand is expected to generate and secure in the future for the time frame from July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006. To be considered the brands must have a minimum brand value of US$2.7 billion, achieve about one third of their earnings outside of their home country, have publicly available marketing and financial data, and have a wider public profile beyond their direct customer base.

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Trump’s 10 Commandments of Branding

Don Sexton, co-author along with the more famous Donald Trump of Trump University Marketing 101: How to Use the Most Powerful Ideas in Marketing to Get More Customers have an interesting free White paper on 10 Commandments of Branding:

Commandment 1: Establish a Clear Brand Position
A brand position is a clear, unambiguous statement that communicates what your company stands for and what it offers. You should choose one or two benefits that make up your brand position. These are the key benefits that your target market cares about and that you have the capabilities to produce. Why one or two? Because people generally can’t remember more than that.

Commandment 2: Build Your Brand on an Emotional Benefit
Your goal is to find an emotional benefit that is far superior to that of your competitors and to associate that benefit with your brand. In other words, you want to own that benefit.

Commandment 3: Build Your Brand as Early as Possible
If you don’t build your brand as quickly as possible, someone else may take the position that you want.

Commandment 4: Be Consistent Over Time and Over Markets
Marketing strategies need to focus on the attributes of the product or service so that they are effectively positioned in the marketplace. Brand strategies must do that too, but a branding strategy must also focus on the associations and identifiers.

Commandment 5: Make Sure All Your Employees Know Your Brand Position
You want all the touch-points in your company to reflect your brand. For example, if your brand is built on “friendliness,” everything in your company must embody that, from the employees to the logo to the company lobby.

Commandment 6: Make Sure All Your Products and Services Embody Your Brand
If you come up with a brand position and your product or service doesn’t embody it, your brand will have no credibility and will quickly fail.

Commandment 7: Make Sure All Your Customers Know Your Brand Position
If your product or service embodies your brand and your customers don’t know it, it’s useless. You must always remind customers of what you do well, and then remind them again.

Commandment 8: Don’t Dilute Your Brand
Once you have established a clear brand position, don’t dilute it. What this means is that you shouldn’t keep extending your brand or adding to it indefinitely. If you extend it, you might actually hurt it. In particular, you should never extend your brand to products and services where customers won’t let it go. Remember, branding is about what customers will let you do.

Commandment 9: Always Monitor Your BrandYou need to continually monitor your brand position to make sure it remains relevant to your customers. Trends change. Your brand needs to change with them.

Commandment 10: Maintain Your Brand as Your Organization’s Most Valuable Asset
Maintaining your brand involves everything we have talked about in this report. It means maintaining consistency, communicating and monitoring. It means putting Commandments 1-9 into practice every single day

Download full PDF file here.

5 Reasons to Brand A City

Paris is romance, Milan is style, New York is energy, Washington is power, Tokyo is modernity, Lagos is corruption, Barcelona is culture, Rio is fun. These are the brands of cities, and they are inextricably tied to the histories and destinies of all these places.

Branding is a tool that can be used by cities to define themselves and attract positive attention in the midst of an international information glut. Unfortunately, there is the common misconception that branding is simply a communications strategy, a tagline, visual identity or logo. It is much, much more. It is a strategic process for developing a long-term vision for a place that is relevant and compelling to key audiences. Ultimately, it influences and shapes positive perceptions of a place.

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10 Ways To Distinguish Yourself From The Competition

Karen Post, also known as Branding Diva and author of Brain Tattoos: Creating Unique Brands That Stick in Your Customers’ Minds is giving advice in a Fast Company article on how to distinguish your business from the competition..

Based Jack Trout’s notes in his bestselling book Differentiate or Die: Survival in Our Era of Killer Competition that:

choosing among multiple options is always based on differences, implicit or explicit. Psychologists point out that vividly differentiated characteristics anchored to a product can enhance the public’s memory of it because they have added uniquely to the mind of the consumer, the product thus appreciating intellectually. In other words, if you are promoting a product or service, give the consumer a reason to choose it.

the article is presenting 10 ways and examples to help discover points of difference for your brand:
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Telecoms Lead AdAge’s Top 200 Brands by US Ad Spending

In this 200th post of this blog and waiting for the soon to be released Interbrand‘s Top 2006 Global Brands Report, I’m here to present AdAge 2005 Top 200 Brands List by US Ad Spending.

Is worth noticing that Ford was pushed out of the Top 3 by telecommunication companies which became top us Ad spenders: Verizon Communication (Verizon), AT&T (Cingular) and Sprint Nextel Corp (Sprint) with a combined spending of $4bn.

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BBC on Brands and Slogans

Brand identity is something all companies worry about. One way companies are trying to attract and retain our attention is through memorable corporate slogans.

These catchphrases are designed to sum up the essence of a business in a way that will stick in the mind and trip off the tongue.

Marketing professionals say a corporate slogan must be concise and distinctive, encapsulating a basic “promise” to a company’s users.

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