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Marketing Insights

What Is A Brand?

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20 years ago agency reps started using “branding” for every situation and client, leveraging the term to increase their influence and authority without concern for their customers. They were never out to create a “brand” for the majority of their clients.

I’ve had a problem with these account reps and agencies since the start. The classic definition of a branding that designers and marketers were taught limits what a true brand is to products and companies whose name has grown to become the descriptive word used for all similar products or services

Kleenex  •   Xerox  •   Coke

Kleenex is a brand and product yet the term is used when people ask for a tissue.

Xerox is just one of the companies manufacturing copiers yet it’s influence and name recognition grew larger than any of it’s competitors and became the common term for a copy.

Expanding that description, a brand dominates customer recognition in their industry or categories. It also sets the standard for quality, innovation and experience. Examples include

                        Black & Decker •   Under Armor •   Lipton

Your local doctors and lawyers offices have a corporate identity. Hospitals, plumbers and other businesses have business identities. The corner deli is a business with a logo. They can all be respected and preferred choices by consumers but their area of influence is local or regional. They compete with the national companies that have defined the experience customers expect.

Most marketing and business plans are not funded or aimed to grow to national or worldwide influence. But Under Armor had that plan. This is a Maryland start up creating high performance sportswear and it established a new product category under a new name in a market with longstanding big names: Nike, Adidas, and more.

This story illustrates that your goals are key to your “brand” reach. I have to submit to trend that the term “brand” has changed in meaning now as a universal term for logo and company identity. But a leading brand has the power of brands like Kleenex, Coke, Black & Decker and Under Armor.

In conclusion – every business has to treat their “brand” as a valuable asset that is key to business longevity and customer preference regardless of sphere of influence. Local or worldwide goals keep your brand recognition and impression at forefront of planning and execution.

We put on a branding webinar once a month. This Brand Pivot Webinar reviews the critical steps to managing your brand like Kleenex and Black & Decker.  Let us know if you want to receive information on our next presentation date and time.

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Topics: Branding

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