You Don’t Know Jack About Branding

Marketing

by Kenny Hyder

Branding LogosPaul Rand. Does that name ring a bell? How about Saul Bass, Henry Stei­ner, or Lin­don Lea­der? If you goo­gled it, you already failed.

Today there is a lot of talk about bran­ding. As more peo­ple are rea­li­zing that you need to put some real mar­ke­ting behind your busi­ness, they look to “bran­ding” as a sil­ver bullet to polish off their efforts. While bran­ding is not the end all be all play to a mar­ke­ting stra­tegy, it is the cor­ners­tone, and it is important.

You Reap What You Sow

As online pro­fes­sio­nals turn for help with bran­ding needs and edu­ca­tion, they are for­get­ting one thing: crap in, crap out. Loo­king to your favo­rite social media site as a study in bran­ding is like trying to deve­lop an ear for music by han­ging out in a high school par­king lot.

Inter­net brands are full of life, color, cheer, and exci­te­ment; but when it’s lon­ge­vity you’re after, these qua­li­ties are thin and flee­ting. What most don’t unders­tand is, inter­net brands are crea­ted to cap­ture today’s audience, to spark this week’s con­ver­sa­tion. While some may disa­gree, when was the last time you were on MyS­pace, 43things, orkut, friend­feed, Xanga, or bebo? Not to men­tion the count­less sites that have long since clo­sed doors.

Is this what you aspire to? To have your brand rise to the top, just to slowly dec­line until you are even­tually for­got­ten about and repla­ced by the newer, shi­nier ver­sion of you?

Learn From The Pros

Like any dis­ci­pline, stu­dents should look to the mas­ters. If you’re my age, seve­ral of the brands above have been around your whole life, and their bran­ding con­sis­tent with minor chan­ges for deca­des. This is the mark of a master.

Calling Card

Wiki­pe­dia defi­nes “Brand” as: “a name, sign, sym­bol, slo­gan or anything that is used to iden­tify and dis­tin­guish a spe­ci­fic pro­duct, ser­vice, or busi­ness.” In other words, your calling card. When you look at the logos depic­ted above, you relate to each one not only with a recog­ni­tion of who they are, but with a fee­ling.

Like­wise, you want your cus­to­mers to relate to you. Your brand, your brand image, should con­vey an emo­tio­nal res­ponse to your audience rather than just serve as a mar­ker for you are. Your brand isn’t your name-tag, it’s your identity.

4 P’s

Pro­duct, Price, Place, and Pro­mo­tion. At the epi­cen­ter of the venn dia­gram of the 4 P’s is your brand. Your brand should be able to esta­blish and make your audience feel good about each of these 4 things in one con­so­li­da­ted mes­sage. The 4 P’s are essen­tial buil­ding blocks to esta­blishing your brand iden­tity, and your bran­ding is your representative.

Con­sis­tency

Con­sis­tency is key. Esta­blishing trust, autho­rity, and com­mu­nity are dif­fi­cult enough one time around, don’t shoot your­self in the foot with mul­ti­ple re-brands, com­plete re-designs, or 180’s with your offe­ring. Take the time, get it right the first time, and all of your efforts will be con­so­li­da­ted down the road.

Any sud­den chan­ges or spo­ra­dic moves make cus­to­mers ques­tion sta­bi­lity. If chan­ges need to be made, bet­ter to boil the frog slowly.

Get Rich Slowly

By now, most are weary of the abi­lity to “get rich quick” or the nume­rous “make money online” sche­mes that are out there. Buil­ding and gro­wing a busi­ness into a trus­ted brand is a slow and arduous pro­cess that takes lots of time, with many hard fought batt­les. But as it is writ­ten: “Good things come to those who wait.”

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