Branding is dead, long live the brand. What do I mean by that?
All companies are building their brand(s) every day, it’s inevitable. But many don’t realize it and have no plan or system for it which can have dire consequences. Perhaps even worse, many think that building the brand has to do with simply raising awareness of it and spending a lot of $$ on campaigns, and much less with delivering value to the customers in a specific and consistent way.
The word ‘branding’ has come to mean slapping a logo and a cute name on an expensive piece of packaging and then promoting the bejesus out of it. It has come to mean something we do at the end of the product development process, when we are about to launch. It has become superficial, disconnected from the product, the company and the people behind it. This saddens me so, because when approaching the brand this way, we cannot leverage it, we cannot maximise its potential, we cannot serve customers, and we cannot create or develop a business around it.
This is why I say that ‘branding’ is dead. The brand, however, is very much alive, and in fact more important than ever. But does brand really matter these days, you might ask, when more and more marketing takes place between people eg on social media networks?
Why yes. Indeed, in a me-too marketplace where everybody has access and can express themselves about any brand any time (and this openness, in my book, is a great thing), the importance of developing and managing a highly differentiated brand – which starts with delivering distinct and superior customer value consistently – is more critical than ever.
We can only do so by putting the brand at the heart of our business strategy. Apart from simplifying the complex, making objectives clear and realistic, and giving direction for everyone in the company, putting the brand at the center ensures that everyone understands the brand promise and works on delivering this to customers every day. And it helps broadening yet clearly specifying the options for business development and growth.
The brand is what people buy. The product, the promise, the experience, and the conviction behind it. Meet and exceed customers’ expectations and maximise business potential by putting the brand at the heart of your business strategy.