Good Branding is Expensive. Great Branding Can’t Be Bought.

Here’s a dictionary definition for you!

The process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ or buyers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyalty.

Okay, glad we got that out! How about you? Does that clear up what marketing and branding is? It doesn’t do much for me. How about my definition?

  1. Marketing is what you say about your company.
  2. Branding is what others say about your company.

The first uses a ‘push’ strategy to send out messaging that will hopefully resonate with its intended audience. The second uses a ‘pull-through’ strategy designed to get the intended audience talking and sharing about the brand they’ve experienced and love.

What most people don’t understand is that a branding campaign isn’t a paid activity, program or solution. It isn’t a phrase or slogan, and it’s certainly not a logo. It’s a life-long process that takes everyone in the company to make it a success.

The very great brands have all learned that it’s far more important what their customers think than what they think. Take any leading brand and give them a test. Does the market know exactly who they are, what they stand for, what’s great about them? The answer is a resounding yes in all cases.

This is not to say that you have to be a global brand to achieve this level of greatness. In fact, a company’s large size can easily get in the way of creating a great brand. Their multi-parts and divisions can easily muddle things up. Take Sony, for instance. Does anyone know who they are and what they primarily do? With thousands of products they have cross-marketed themselves out of the market. Yes, we all recognize the Sony logo, but as we all know a logo is not a brand. It’s a logo!

Tom Marin is the president of MarketCues, a national consulting firm. Tom serves as a senior advisor and change-management consultant with 35 years of experience. He has worked for some of the world’s largest corporations, as well as middle-market firms. Tom's focus is to plan and drive strategy shifts and strategic growth programs in the printing industry and a diverse range of market areas.
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