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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.

Marka Discovers the Importance of Branding (Part I)

Last time, Marka and Zoot, the lead marketer and salesperson from Fire Enterprises, Inc, discussed syncing marketing messages and sales behaviors to better reflect a company’s selling proposition. This week, Marka and Brandy, the branding guru, discuss brand creation and rebranding efforts. Remember, fire = print.

Two hours into “Half-off grog night!” at the Red Argus, Marka had a belly full of grog and a head full of branding questions. FEI’s brand needed updating and in a hurry.

“Public perception of FEI is all wrong,” Marka complained to Brandy the bartender. “We need a fresh personality that reflects our new philosophy and direction.”

“Your brand should be derived from your company’s USP (Unique Selling Proposition) and core competencies,” Brandy advised. “Identify what makes your business unique and base your new brand development off this idea.”

 “In that case, our new brand must clearly convey the message that FEI helps our customers and friends live warmer, brighter, more exciting lives,” Marka said. 

“Better than your old brand, which reflected what? Your ability to light fires?” Brandy asked.

“Pretty much,” Marka admitted. “Now that I understand what a brand is, where do I start?”

“Branding begins with a name,” Brandy said, chomping on a cherry from the bar stock. “You’ve lucked out there. Let’s face it: ‘Fire Enterprises, Inc.’ is well-known throughout Olympus.”

Marka reminded herself never to order a drink with cherries. “One problem though: when people hear Fire Enterprises, Inc., they think of Prometheus and old guys. We want customers to consider us innovative, smart and always at the forefront of industry change. That’s why we’ve decided to go by FEI.”

“This name change will send the message that ‘FEI is always looking forward,’” Brandy said, nodding. “I like it. You certainly know more than you let on about brand development, Marka.”

 “Yet the name is also a reminder of our storied past,” Marka noted. “Rebranding doesn’t have to mean flushing our old brand down the aqueduct.”

“Correct me if I’m wrong, but ‘Fire Classic’ involved a similar rebranding effort,” Brandy said, twirling strands of long auburn hair.

“That’s right. We weren’t willing to give up on our original product despite straw-thin profit margins,” Marka explained. “So ‘Fire’ became the classic brand, while ‘RapidFire’ was positioned as the hip fire aimed at newer markets. A brand involves name and products—what else?”

“What isn’t in a brand?” Brandy asked rhetorically. “Before I get into more detail, you might want to help yourself to another grog.”

“Fill ’er up,” Marka said with a sigh, anticipating the challenging branding questions that lay ahead.

Today’s FIRE! Point:

Your brand should derive from your company’s USP and core competencies. Identify what makes your business unique and base your new brand development off this idea. When you want to appeal to a different customer base, enter a new product line, or publicly demonstrate a change in the way your company does business, a rebranding effort may be necessary to shift marketplace perception of your company.

Next week: Our branding talk continues with a discussion of logos, slogans and brand consistency in communications and customer service.

FIRE! in Action

Coors Banquet Spurs Sales by Returning to “Classic” Brand Image

A popular “cowboy” commercial and the launch of “classic” yellow cans helped return the beer to its rugged brand roots. The result was a 7.6% sales increase in 2008, a year when Budweiser and Miller Genuine Draft were left in the red.

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