Branding Misinterpreted

By Michael D. Drexler

What's in a name? Well if it has to do with branding, it could mean everything. Or, it could mean nothing.

We all know how many domains out there in "dot-com" land have put their names up for sale. Most at prices that reflect the failure of these companies, leaving their name as the only asset.

Many of these companies failed to realize what branding is all about. They thought you could just spend a lot of money on advertising to reach a lot of people quickly and, virtually overnight, create an instant brand.

What an unfortunate surprise.

There are many, many reasons why lots of them missed the mark. But the primary reason was that these companies confused awareness with branding.

Brand building is a disciplined process. And, a gradual one at that. While awareness is an important early step in the branding process, it really has little to do with the brand itself. Moreover, there is really no direct correlation between brand awareness and sales.



Branding requires many things, starting with the proper research as well as continued testing. What is the brand positioning? Does it fill a need? What is the value proposition, and how is it perceived? Is it being targeted to the most receptive audience at the right time? Is the product or service at parity with competitors, or are there unique advantages that can be communicated?

There are many other factors associated with branding but there is also a basic difference between brand building and brand reminding. While both are essential to the marketing process, brand building requires a powerful emotional component at its core. It needs to establish a real bond with the customer that engenders a strong, continuing relationship. It requires trust. People don't just use a brand - they experience it. A brand is not so fragile that price alone can decide its fate.

We all know of many popular brands that have passed away in categories such as airlines, cars, food and drugs, appliances, etc. Some of them died because new products or line extensions in the category found more compelling benefits to offer. Some died from lack of marketing support and were "milked." Others, because they didn't keep up with changes in society.

Whatever the reason, a brand's equity declines when it loses meaning to the customer. Consequently, an ongoing dialogue with the consumer is a necessary ingredient in the marketing of a brand because branding occurs over time.

In the offline world, branding campaigns must be regularly monitored for changes in attitude, brand preference shift and intent to purchase. For the most part they cannot usually be linked directly to advertising exposure. In the online world it is the technology of post impression tracking, not just click-throughs, that will have the most influence on measuring the advertising effectiveness of a brand.

With all media, however, in the final analysis, sales will always be the benchmark of a

Next story loading loading..