Back to Brand Basics

Given all the new media options and technology capabilities today, it’s easy to forget the essential truths about brands.  I read several reminders this past month about getting back to brand basics.back to brand basics

In an interview on Branding In Asia, Martin Roll, author of Asian Brand Strategy, emphasized that brand-building is a strategic leadership responsibility.  “I believe people often underestimate how difficult it actually is to build and sustain strong global brands, and to become truly brand-driven organizations. Especially Asian business leaders tend to believe that brand building is somehow a tactical exercise they can delegate to lower parts of the organization, and that results will show up quickly. They often struggle to understand the strategic nature of brand building, for which they need to direct and lead the efforts, and make profound changes to make it happen.”  Although he was addressing Asian brands specifically, strategic brand leadership is a universal mandate.

Juliet Carnoy advanced the point when she wrote about how that brand leadership responsibility extends to ensuring consistent on-brand execution in everything, all the time.  The #7 of her 7 Habits of Remarkably Authentic Brands post was “Make every day matter:  Remember that consumers are interacting and buying from brands each and every day. When it comes to being authentic, you need to be consistent. You should actively work to ensure that every interaction a customer has with your brand leaves a positive vibe. You don’t get to take a day off representing your brand.

The integrity of visual brand identity was the subject of a piece by Siegel+Gale’s Anne Swan, 5 Steps to Building a Lasting Brand Identity.  She explained, “Brand identity isn’t just about what looks the prettiest. It should have a direct link back to business strategy. People all have their personal tastes as to what looks best visually, but what is most important is how the visual design will drive the business forward.

Two writers observed how today’s market dynamics are changing the way brands are built, but they described approaches that have distinguished great brands throughout the years.  In Building A Modern Brand: Strategy, Creativity and AgilityDavid Armano reported on data from Edelman’s Brandshare study which concluded that today’s consumers look for and evaluate their relationship with a brand beyond traditional rational and emotional benefits into areas that veer into societal. Well over half of 10,000 consumers polled globally indicated that brands having a clear “mission and purpose” influenced how they felt about that brand.  David then posed a timeless challenge:  “Today’s marketers must ask themselves—does our brand stand for something? Does it stand against something else?”  The best brands — Apple, Disney, Google — have crystal clear answers to these questions.

In Branding in the Age of Social Media, Douglas Holt observed, “Iconic brands are cultural innovators: They leapfrog the conventions of their categories to champion new ideologies that are meaningful to customers. As a result, they enjoy intense customer loyalty and superior sales and profits, and garner loads of free media coverage. In business, few achievements are more prized than creating an iconic brand.” This is true now more than ever before.

Have you come across other content about getting back to brand basics lately?  Please share.

P.S.  As noted last month, I’ve introduced a new blog feature:  a monthly recap of content that stood out to me in the weeks prior.  In addition to the brain food I myself cook up, I wanted to share tasty bites from others.  Hope you enjoy the buffet!

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