Thursday, October 3, 2013

Everyone has a brand

I spend a lot of my time talking about branding and its impact on a business. Invariably, someone will say, "My business is too small. I don't have a brand." To which I reply:

If you're in business, you're branding.

When you pick a name for your company, you're branding.

When you hire your first employee, you're branding.

When you answer the phone, you're branding.

When you design your product, you're branding.

When you choose your location, you're branding.

When you pick your office furniture, you're branding.

Branding isn't just your marketing communications. It's everything you do, because everything you do communicates something about your brand.

That's why it's important to make sure you understand your mission, vision, promise and values so you can deliver on them every time in every interaction. A strong brand directs more than marketing. It directs your business.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

What's in a brand name?

This is a caterpillar.

So is this.

This is an apple.

So is this.

Brand names become brand names when they are given context in the form of products, features, benefits and values. Until then, they are just words.

That's why a lot of product names never become brands. Companies don't take the time or make the investments to transform them from words into brands.

Successful companies create powerful brands by focusing on a name and working hard to promote that. Apple is the brand that drives sales of it's products. iPhone, iPad, iMac are just product descriptors, not brands.

Even P&G has simplified its "house of brands" strategy and focused on a smaller, more powerful portfolio of product line brands like Tide, Crest and Fabreze. The corporate brand does very little to sell those products.

Understanding which name drives your brand is critical to understanding where to invest and when you might need a new brand to launch a new product or service.

Because when it comes to brands, the name's the thing.