9 Criteria for Establishing Brand Essence

October 21, 2011  |  Branding  |  No Comments

I talk about Brand Essence every day while dealing with my clients. Essence is much more than a feeling. It is the impression evoked by the brand though many touchpoints or connections with the consumer.  These 9 criteria sum up what the “essence” really is. This list is an excerpt from a post by HubSpot.
9 Criteria for Establishing Brand Essence
1. Focus: Find one or two words that define the brand. Deliver a unique experience, and document what it is you want to evoke.
2. Feeling: Describe what it is you want a consumer to feel when he/she comes into contact with your brand.
3. Individuality: In these communities, brands are people, too, and necessary to stand alone. The key here is uniqueness and charm.
4. Experiential: When a consumer experiences a product or service, what is the encounter eliciting?
5. Consistency: What a brand conveys now and every day. It is also a call to ensure that the brand team is structured in a way that allows it to deliver as promised.
6. Credibility: Aligning the brand essence with experiences and righting the course of engagement and transformation when necessary. (This is discussed further in Chapter 15).
7. Longevity: Is the essence designed to last, something…

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Choose Reality Over Perfection In Brand Building

October 8, 2010  |  Branding, Marketing  |  No Comments
Choose Reality Over Perfection In Brand Building

I love this article posted by Martin Lindstrom on the Branding Strategy Insider. It is all about getting REAL. Let’s get REAL with our BRANDS. Make them authentic, let them make mistakes and react like a REAL person. Nobody likes a phony brand image and we all know what those look like. This goes for corporate brands, small business brands, service brands and personal brands. I love imperfect brands just like I love imperfect people — who are not afraid to admit it. Get REAL with your brand!

Source: Martin Lindstrom, Branding Strategy Insider

Is perfect branding really the best way of building brands? Up until recently this might have been true. Asking Martha Stewart fans they would have agreed with me. Year after year the ever-perfect Martha was dishing up one perfect decoration advice after another. And yes they were really perfect – but repeating this session decade after decade made one mistake look so much more dramatic than if the brand Martha would have conducted mistakes, purposely or not, through the years just like us “ordinary” human beings.

And this brings me to the point. I’m a big believer in the fact that the ultimate brand is like a real person. Needless to say no brand hardly reaches a stage where people perceive it as being a real person, but the fact is, that the more human components we associate a brand with, typically the stronger the brand is. Read More

Think like a designer

August 5, 2010  |  Branding  |  No Comments
Think like a designer

Even if you are not a designer, you can train yourself to think like one. Doing this will help you critique layouts presented to you for your opinion or approval.

Flex Your Design Muscle – A Few Exercises

Here are a few suggestions to train your brain to think like a designer . . .

  1. Start a design folder or binder to keep samples of ideas you like. This helps you wake up and become more alert. I often get inspiration from designs I notice in totally different markets than the one I am working on. You don’t have to like everything – notice the details. You may like a font, a color scheme, a style of writing, a photo treatment or even the way the paper folds.
  2. Analyze your junk mail every day, then explain why you hate it or love it. Keep the ones you really like.
  3. While grocery shopping study the cereal boxes. The large packaged goods companies (Kelloggs, Kraft/Nabisco, General Mills) spend big bucks on their packaging. Get some ideas from the pros. See how they prioritize the information and use bold graphics to highlight and catch the consumer’s  attention.
  4. Start paying close attention to billboards, signage, invitations, and even instruction manuals. See how they pick the design elements to appeal to their target audience and to create a strong brand image. Read More

define: Brand

December 14, 2009  |  Branding  |  No Comments
define: Brand

This blurb is from Seth Godin’s Blog post today. It is a terrific explanation about Brand Value. Does your product or service command a premium price because its Brand Value?  To create an outstanding brand you must take a wholistic approach. Your brand is every connection or impression with your consumers. It is the impression they create in THEIR minds about you, your product or service.

Posted by Seth Godin on December 14, 2009

define: Brand

Here’s my definition: A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.

A brand’s value is merely the sum total of how much extra people will pay, or how often they choose, the expectations, memories, stories and relationships of one brand over the alternatives.

A brand used to be something else. It used to be a logo or a design or a wrapper. Today, that’s a shadow of the brand, something that might mark the brand’s existence. But just as it takes more than a hat to be a cowboy, it takes more than a designer prattling on about texture to make a brand. If you’ve never heard of it, if you wouldn’t choose it, if you don’t recommend it, then there is no brand, at least not for you. Read More

7 Ways to Create a BIG BRAND for Your Small Business

December 8, 2009  |  Branding, Marketing  |  No Comments
7 Ways to Create a BIG BRAND for Your Small Business

Branding for a Small Business – 7 Ways to Creating a Working Brand

Creating a strong brand for a small business can give you a big competitive edge and higher profit margin. A small business’s brand and marketing materials must do more than just ‘look pretty’ — they need  be effective as well. For your brand to “work” for your business it should accomplish these goals:

1. Build Trust – Your company brand should make your customers think, “That company is reliable, and always delivers what it promises”. Make sure your promise is what you focus on. If you promise great service, be sure your staff is well trained understands what great service means.  The key here is is never over promise and under deliver.

2. Define Your Point of Difference – Your brand should stand out from your competitor for one specific reason. It should also look more polished and professional. As a small business, competing against other small business this can be a real competitive edge. By investing in professional brand materials and a website you can immediately position yourself in a premium position and possibly command a higher price.

3. Communicate Credibility - Your brand design, slogan, and writing should all evoke a sense of expertise. To be authentic, be sure you are up on the current topics, trends or latest technology in your industry. Showcase your experience, training and continued commitment to being on top of your game. Read More

7 Branding Observations in NYC

July 23, 2009  |  Branding, Marketing  |  No Comments
7 Branding Observations in NYC

I just returned from a weekend trip to NYC with my 12 year old daughter. Being the brand designer that I am I could not help but notice the different marketing strategies and tactics used by various companies in the Big Apple. Here are my observations:

1. People like New (i.e, the New Coach line that just came out has been flying out of the stores for 3 weeks now)

2. Create addicts: tatoos (saw several ‘sleeves’), Apple (I bought a $34 case for my ipod, knowing I could get one elsewhere much cheaper)

3. Atmosphere stimulates the target market’s, “hot buttons,” My daughter enjoyed getting a picture with the male model at the front of Abercrombie and the store feels like a club or a house party, Apple is clean and new, etc.)

4. Bargain shoppers ARE willing to work for better prices on quality products. (Century 21 beside Ground Zero)

5. Avid sports fans don’t like to shop on Sunday afternoon! The ESPN store in Times Square was empty!

6. Reviews/Awards/Top picks are highly influential. I know the car industry makes a huge deal about reviews and ratings. I was totally influenced by the, “top picks,” stickers in the Sophora cosmetic store. -Take home point: get on a list, get rated or ranked! Read More

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