Posts Tagged ‘Brand’

Elon Musk on branding…

April 26, 2015
Elon Musk at TED

Elon Musk at TED

“Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time. Sometimes it will be ahead, other times it will be behind. But brand is simply a collective impression some have about a product.” ~ Elon Musk

Very true. At this point in our history, a brand is truly what the targeted audience feels it is. It can also be quite volatile. Scary thought for those of us in marketing and branding…

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To Thine Own Self be True…

April 22, 2012

This line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet has been interpreted in numerous ways since it was written. I choose to think it refers Imageto maintaining integrity to your own core identity, and the importance of that focus.

Organizations (and people for that matter) are often defined by their reputations. In a technology state where a lie travels around the world before the truth even gets out of bed, this can be a disturbing reality. Reputations and brands that may have taken decades to build can be trashed in a matter of hours (or at least days…).

Reputations may not actually reflect the true underlying persona of an organization or brand. One of the most violent negative reactions in social media comes when an organization or brand is seen to have acted out of character. Often these negativity reactions have more to do with the fact that the organizations image is does not actually fully match with its true self than that they actually behaved in an incongruent manner.  Whether this incorrect perception was innocently developed or fostered by the owner, the disparity is potentially fuel for a firestorm when exposed to the light of day.

While many of these viral occurrences are often out of proportion to reality, the fact that they can happen (even when the organization/brand has no intent to deceive) argues for maintaining and communicating an identity consistent with internal integrity.

With full, immediate event awareness that is available in our tapped in world, it is impossible for a public entity to maintain a false façade for any extended length of time; there is just too much exposure, and from too many potential directions. In a market where customers are looking for a relationship (granted the intensity of this relationship varies by product and organization), that relationship must be built on a sustainable reality, or it will ultimately will fail.

Issues often arise when a company makes a lackluster effort to find and promote its true core values and beliefs, because it is easier to stipulate that the rate of change dictates that they may need to be someone else tomorrow. This is lazy thinking: While what exactly you do, and how you go-to-market may be different tomorrow (and impacted by the tides of change and technology), the core of who you are should not change.

Apple has always been the epitome of this (and those who know me are aware that I am not Apple’s biggest fan): Apple was going to be Apple, no matter what came. The irony here was that Apple was/is so sure of their direction and identity, that they were actually able to drive the change in the market to reflect that identity. IBM, another technology brand, drove to reinvent the entire company when their market positioning no longer fit their world view.

Other iconic brands, for example Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and American Express, have evolved, but basically thrived by strongly communicating an unwavering value proposition that was clearly understood by their customers.

These long-term brands show that a brand can still retain lasting value in a digital world, but a key to doing so is to know yourself, and be true to that knowledge.

capere mutatio

April 1, 2012

“The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow.” ~
Rupert Murdoch 

In my last post, I outlined 7 aspects of brand reality in the digital world that I find worthy of discussion and debate. One was the concept of change: how to recognize when change is needed; how to accept it; how to embrace it; and why we all need to.

The “why we need to become comfortable with change” is easy to see. The business landscape shifts on a continual basis. The axiom “change is the only constant” has never been more true. But how to best react to this change is not so readily apparent. In the not so recent past, we recognized the importance of change, but were looking to identify seismic shifts that would act as game changers. Current reality is more subtle and pervasive. Trends are harder to discern, and may have less overall value when we do ferret them out.

In the new non-mass engagement world, only the most fundamental of pervasive trends have relevance to marketers. Rather, patterns that emerge in the specific preferences of our customers and prospects are more to the point. Change should be relevant to us in the context of “who we are”, and a big part of this answer is who our customers are. That Amazon (the epitome of customization) is more relevant to its customers than Wal-Mart (the embodiment of mass marketing) is highlighted by the fact that Amazon is now the more valuable retail brand, despite having no brick ‘n mortar locations (or at least not currently….).

The psychological step of accepting customer driven change also creates the focus shift from an analysis driven perspective (typically from 30,000 feet) to one that sees interacting with a brand’s customer base as the highest strategic imperative of all, and one that is both more interesting and fulfilling.