Tuesday, 25 December 2012

What is branding?

Let’s start with the American Marketing Association (AMA) definition. The AMA defines a brand as a "name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.

However, a brand stands for more than that. It’s a set of values, experience, sense of belonging, and much more. Let’s understand it in simple words by simply running through the below video. It presents the basics of branding.

So, did you find anything new? I am sure you will say “it’s the same definition everywhere”. Now, let’s see what these people have to say about brands.

Stephen King of WPP Group, London distinguishes a brand from a product as he says, "A product is something made in a factory; a brand is something that is bought by the customer.” “A product can be copied by a competitor; a brand is unique."

Likewise, Marketing Guru Philip Kotler says, “If you are not a brand, you are a commodity.” Advertising Guru David Ogilvy simply puts it as - "Within every brand is a product, but not every product is a brand."

The creator of Revlon, Charles Revson also agrees with them when he says, “In the factory we make cosmetics; in the drugstore we sell hope." While Walter Landor of Landor Associates takes it to the next level when he says, “Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind.”

Al Reis and Laura Reis, the authors of 22 Immutable Laws of Branding also connect the brand with consumer’s mind. They say, "A brand should strive to own a word in the mind of the consumer."

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon personifies a brand. He says, “A brand for the company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.”

David Ogilvy adds the human experience to the definition of a brand. According to him, “Any damn fool can put on a deal, but it takes genius, faith and perseverance to create a brand.”

Stuart Agres, the Principal at Adduce Consulting and Owner, Adduce International Corp., links a brand to a set of promises. In his words, "A brand is a set of differentiating promises that link a product to its customers." While Harry Beckwith, the author of Selling the Invisible, draws in the trust factor when he says, “It is not slickness, polish, uniqueness, or cleverness that makes a brand a brand.” “It is truth.”

Talking about brands, consumers and brand loyalty, Edwin Artzt, the former CEO and Chairman of Procter & Gamble, says, “Brand value is very much like an onion.” “It has layers and a core. The core is the user who will stick with you until the very end.”

Brand has been compared with time. In Stephen King’s opinion, “A product can be quickly outdated, but a successful brand is timeless.” Creators and curators of brands die but a brand lives on, if managed well. In former Diageo Chairman George Bull’s words, “Well-managed brands live on – only bad brand managers die.”

Brand is a complicated story. Its innumerable connotations are never-ending. Scott Bedbury, an American Advertising Executive formerly associated with Nike, Inc. and Starbucks and the author of A New Brand World: Eight Principles for Achieving Brand Leadership in the 21st Century, says, “A great brand is a story that’s never completely told.”

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Choose right brand colours, connect with consumers

There’s something special about brand colours. Colours say it all - WWF’s black and white, Facebook’s blue, Twitter’s light blue, Coca-cola’s red, McDonald’s golden and red, and likewise other colours convey the psyche of a brand (read the article Colour communicates).

Rummaging through the webpages, I found this interesting article by Jason Miller talking about how different colours can help you connect with your consumers.

Read the original article True Colours: What Your Brand Colors Say About Your Business.       

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Overuse brand colour at your own risk

Use brand colours wisely. (c) www.freepixels.com
I was overwhelmed by the red colour during the festive season of Dashain, the most important festival of Hindus. Everywhere there was red – little children wearing red dress, women wearing red saris, family members wearing red tika on their foreheads after receiving blessings from the elders and even the decorations in the marketplace – all were red.

It perfectly matched the adage, “Paint the town red”. Then I landed in this newly opened restaurant. I would not take its full name so that their marketing efforts are not jeopardized by my comments. It was named “The Red…..”.

When I entered, there was red and only red everywhere. The door was painted in red, the sofas, tables, chairs and curtains – everything was red. When the waiter came with the menu, not only its cover was red but even the inside pages were red. To my dismay, even the plate and cup were red in colour.

While eating, it felt as if the red colour will stick to my tongue. You can imagine what others have felt. The restaurant was well designed, located at a prime point in the marketplace, well promoted in the local media, and of course the dishes were delicious. However, I saw, the customer turnout was not so exciting.   

Talking about the use of brand colours, I can’t forget another example where the marketers have overwhelmingly used their colours to brand their product. It’s of NCell, a telecom service provider in Nepal. The marketers have not spared any nook and cranny in the country. They have painted with purple the flower pots, street lamp posts, bus stations, small restaurants, public parks and to my dismay even the national monuments. The roundabout of Kohalpur in the Western Nepal has been smudged with their brand colour. Seeing all purple in the surrounding, I was feeling as if I will puke purple!

I don’t mean that it’s bad to use brand colours and your logos in abundance. It’s what the marketers have done in the past to subconsciously attract the customers and influence their purchase decisions. But there is a limit to everything. Simply painting the surroundings with your brand colours won’t help your brand make its way to your customers’ hearts. Instead, they will be annoyed to see the same colour everywhere.

Use your primary and secondary brand colours wisely. Remember the saying “if you overeat sugar, it will seem bitter after a while”.