The Brand: It’s All in the Mind

- January 2, 2012

Smart Monday/Positioning

Hello everybody, I’m Jim Glover, That Branding Guy, and welcome to Once a Day Marketing, where business takes shape. This is very exciting for us. It’s not only the beginning of a new year, it’s also the beginning of Once a Day Marketing. We’re going to start working with you every single day to bring you branding and marketing tips to make your business more successful. So we’re glad that you are joining us today for our first segment on Smart Monday: “The Brand: It’s All in Your Mind.”

So, the brand. It’s all in your mind. What is a brand? I want you to think about that for a moment. Think about brand. Five little letters: B-R-A-N-D. Let’s begin with a few questions for you. Is a brand a logo? Probably. Is it a tagline? Most certainly. It’s often thought that a brand is just a tagline or a logo. But a brand is much, much more.

How about you, the founder of your company, or you, one of the principal players. Is the brand a reflection of you? How you think? How you act inside your company, how you act with your customers? Let’s take a look at this piece by piece. We’ll start with product and services. Think about
your product and services. How are they reflected in the market place? Do people love your products? Do they hate your products? Do they buy a lot or do they buy a little? How does your product meet their needs? Do you help them all the time or is it something more obscure? Perhaps that’s all part of your brand.

How about promotion? What about the ads that you put out there? Is that part of your brand? The things potential customers see perhaps on television or radio or on a billboard, in a magazine, publicity that you share, networking you do, things that you might be doing today on the Internet. Is that part of your brand? And how does that stack up against the competition?

How about place? Where do customers find your product? Do they have to come to your store? Do you go to them? Do they buy online? Do they go to Target to find your product? Do you think every interaction they have trying to track your product down represents a portion of your brand? I bet it
does.

How about positioning? Where in the market place do you stand? Are you the premium product or discount product, or are you somewhere in between? Positioning with respect to your competition, and we’re going to be talking a lot about positioning in the future, is that part of your brand?

How about physical evidence? How about everything consumers physically see related to your product? Is it really beautiful or is it kind of dreary? Is it modern? Is it retro or is it old? Have you not changed your product in 20 years or, are you changing it every single day? Do you think that’s reflected in the brand?

And how about the process? How about the customer’s physical interaction with the company and the things that they experience? Do you think that experience is also part of the brand?

So what can you brand? You can brand absolutely everything, at least I believe that. Let’s think about that. Remember the old expression: person, place or thing? So let’s talk about people. How about our current president? Do you think he has a brand? I think he won the election on that brand in 2008. How about Michael Jordan in his heyday when everything he shot sank, and his team was winning world championships? How about the latest antics of Charlie Sheen? Do you think his brand has changed during the course of this last year? So practically everything can be branded. You can brand a war. You can brand a weapon. You can brand a food. You can brand a cigarette. There is absolutely nothing that can’t be branded. Think about Charmin tissue paper. Even toilet paper can be branded. So now apply that to your business. Can you brand your business? Yes. And the question is: How well are you branding your business?

The brand is different for every single customer because every single customer has a different experience with your brand. Every time they interact with your brand that experience is captured in their mind, whether it’s yearly, monthly, weekly, daily or even hourly. And again it’s different for each
and every individual. For instance, an airline, if I fly with your airline today and I have just a wonderful flight, I’m loving your brand. Maybe on my return trip everything breaks down and I have horrible flight. Do you think I’m still loving your brand? Well, I might not be but what if your customer service stepped up and really took care of me? Now perhaps I’m loving your brand even more. Or, maybe you let me down and left me hanging in an airport for a day. Now I’m about ready to never use your brand again.

We can influence the brand, and what you try to do as a branding expert is to drive customer’s thoughts about your brand to align with what you want that brand to represent to them. So you can shape it, you can manipulate it, you can try to get consumers to do want you want them to do, but again, it’s different for every individual and it resides in the mind of every individual. That’s where the brand is.

Just what is a brand? That was our original question. Well, the final answer is that a brand is absolutely everything. It’s every experience. It’s every encounter that your customers had with you, your business and your products and services. So again, when you think about a brand, it is simply everything.

Thanks for joining us for the first Once a Day Marketing blog, where business takes shape. We hope you enjoyed our content on branding today. We encourage you to visit us tomorrow for Strategic Tuesday and every day after that. We also hope you will share our site with your friends and that you will “like” us on Facebook and perhaps comment so we can improve our efforts. I’m Jim Glover, That Branding Guy, for Once a Day Marketing. We will see you next time.