Category Archives: Branding

Branding Illustrated

Here’s a funny . . . and accurate . . . take on branding.

The cartoon that’s missing: Online dating = web marketing/social media.

Branding: A Product of Strategy

Alternative title = Branding: Not the Instigator of Strategy

John clarifies the very conundrum my feeble mind has been wrestling with the past few days: How are branding and strategy different? The answer, in short, is they are almost synonymous.

More importantly, why are some people declared as gurus in branding and others as gurus of strategies? The answer, in short, is that same person is a guru of both.

When people start to separate strategy from branding, and vice versa, you can bet the farm that someone has a bad idea of what branding is. In fact, they probably think it mostly affects the logo, the packaging and the colors and fonts used on the website. It’s a common mistake.

But if branding is “the difference,” then it’s the strategy that identifies those differences and determines how to act on them, and branding is then more a product of the strategy. It’s the result of the impressions you make.

Once you have that strategy in place, and once the impressions are being made, then your brand becomes clearer by the day. At which time you can be sure your logo, packaging and website are all aligned to communicate in a way that supports that brand.

But don’t do it the other way around. Cuz if your customers think your brand means something different than you do, then you’ve wasted a lot of time and money on all the frilly stuff.

Similar posts on Brett’s Blog:

  1. The Best Branding Presentation I’ve ever seen
  2. If You’re Business Had a Tag Cloud

The Best Branding Presentation I’ve Ever Seen

Tip o’ the hat to David for sharing this mind-shaking presentation on branding by Marty of Neutron, LLC. As David says in his post, sometimes it’s best to just get out of the way and let “the thing” speak for itself. I’ll only add that this is must-see for anyone who even slightly considers themselves a business person.

Getting Away From Your Bread and Butter

Bread and ButterIf you watched the Cowboys-Packers game last night, you saw a textbook example of a a very successful group losing sight of what has made them successful.

And it wasn’t the Cowboys.

As the Sturminator details on this post, the Packers have made their way to the top of the NFC this year not by drilling long pass after long pass, but by nailing the short routes and letting their receivers take over with their league-leading yards after catch. But that’s not what you saw in the first half last night. Instead, you saw them throwing rainmakers one after another, going for the jugular in a situation that didn’t call for it and from a team that has no business doing it. The only thing I think is that they were trying to exploit Roy Williams in the secondary, and I can’t blame them there. But it didn’t work.

Since this is blog mostly dedicated to marketing, I hope you see where this is going. When it comes down to it, the Packers had a momentary lapse in branding last night. Most companies experience this on a regular basis. You forget what makes you good, what makes you stand out, what got you where you are, what’s getting you where you’re going and what people think of when they think of you. It’s easy to do. It’s tempting to do. But it’s always a mistake.

The good groups recognize it fairly early and get back on track. The Packers looked like the Packers last night in the second half – it was just too late. The bad groups take one step away from their brand position, only to take another to try to correct it, only to continue until they’re as confused as to who they are, and so are their customers. (To continue the football analogies, I would say see the Arizona Cardinals right now – they aren’t total failures, but I don’t know how I would categorize them).

Moral of the story: know your bread and butter. Make sure everyone you work with knows it. Build your messages around it. Most of all, get everyone involved committed to it.

When I was in 6th grade, I made the local baseball all-star team. We went to the state level, where we didn’t fair too well. I had used my own bat the entire year, but once we got to state, I was mesmerized by a bat that a fellow player was using. So I started using it. Long story short, I didn’t hit too well during the tournament, and we came home early.

Afterward, I remember my Dad asking why I switched bats. I can’t remember how I answered, but I can remember his response: “But your bat is the one that made you an all-star to begin with.”

At 12 years old, that made all the sense in the world to me. At 30 years old, it still does.

Weekend Reading, August 24-26

Great links I hit over the weekend:

  1. Look Up During Your Sermons: Thanks to Brian for his take on this ProBlogger post. Excellent way of looking at the “stick-to-it-tive-ness” needed to blog successfully.
  2. A Change In Perspective: Believe it or not, this joker actually flew up to Kansas City just for a BBQ dinner. And a change in scenery.
  3. New Blogs from Great Friends: Rick and Jan Loy have started a new blog, and I guarantee you they will be an outstanding daily read.
  4. Two Must-See Videos: Frank tracked down two of the coolest videos I’ve seen in a while. Here’s Amateur, and here’s Kitchen Diaries. Where would web-surfing be these days without YouTube?
  5. Start With the Customer: Interesting how so many of us marketers use the same words and same approach to sell different products. Neil has an excellent example that’s specific to direct sales.
  6. Top Names for Pets: Similar to the post above, David points out that the top name for both dogs and cats this past year was the same name. How’s that for differentiation?

My 5 Favorite Posts on Brett’s Blog

Call it narcissistic. Call it only-child syndrome. Call it a cheap way to get more views. But, I thought it might not be too pathetic for me to list my personal favorite posts on my blog since its inception. Ironically, they aren’t your favorite posts, according to my stats, so you probably haven’t read them anyway. If you can’t enjoy what you spend so much time doing, why do it, right?

In fact, why don’t you do the same? And leave a comment here so we can find it. And trackback to here so we can all get it in the action.

My favorite blog posts to date:

  1. Branding is “the difference”
  2. 7 Reasons Not to be Risky
  3. Naturally 7 Subway Video
  4. Supply is the New Demand
  5. Return on Attention
  6. Bonus – couldn’t help but add this one onStinky Hands

If Your Business Had a Tag Cloud . . . .

Tag CloudTag clouds are pretty cool. And they’re pretty telling about whatever it is they’re describing.

A tag cloud basically takes all the tags (or categories) you write about and then represents the number of posts under that tag by the size of the font. Looking at my tag cloud, it’s clearly about marketing, followed by business and blogging and then a bunch of other stuff. You know what this blog is at its bullseye within 1 second, and within 10 seconds, you probably know more about what interests me than most of my friends and family.

What if you’re business had a tag cloud? What if the size of font was based on the number of actions under a certain category? Or budget? Or product? Could people look at your businesses tag cloud and know within a second what you’re wanting them to know? Or would your actions and budget dictate a larger font in an area that you haven’t strategically identified as important?

What would prospects and customers notice first?