Branding – Keeping it REAL

January 23, 2008 4:54 pm

What is a brand anyway?

In the simplest terms, a brand is the presence of a unique entity. And that entity need not be the size of Coke, Sony, or Toyota. The rapid march of technology has opened up the power of branding to all companies, organizations and entities, from the sole proprietor, to the regional service provider, to the North American manufacturer. You can stand apart, have a voice and go for your share of the market, regardless of your company size or communications budget.

Big brands have the luxury of being big. As a result, they can get away with a lot when it comes to branding . . . vague messaging, missing the audience, open-ended communications, being risqué, and over-extending. But not smaller brands. Not when every move and every dollar counts. Smaller brands have to stay focused, be urgent, and deliver with impact. Here are four key elements of successful branding that we use to help our clients keep it R.E.A.L.

R – Remarkable
E – Easy
A – Actionable
L – Legit

R is for Remarkable. A remarkable brand is one that’s literally worth remarking about. People like to talk about brands, both in the office and at home. They love to talk about bad brand experiences and sometimes talk about good brand experiences. But, they NEVER talk about average brand experiences. Deliver a delightful experience with your brand communications – strike an emotional chord – and inspire people to remark.

E is for Easy. A brand message that is easy to understand, is easier to internalize, certainly easier to share, easier to remember, easier to buy . . . you get the picture. There’s nothing worse than a communication from a smaller brand that’s complex, hard to navigate, or hard to get the gist of. Keep it simple. Make it easy.

A is for Actionable. When you get to the size of Nike, you can throw a white swoosh on a black billboard with no explanation or direction, and call it a day. Smaller brands need to TELL their readers, viewers and audiences what to do. If you want people to call in response to a mailer, tell them so. If you want them to sign up for a seminar, ask them. Offer multiple ways for recipients of your message to take immediate action. We live in a do-it-now society. “I see. I like. I buy. PERIOD.” Don’t make me beg or jump through hoops. Let me take action. Let me be your customer.

L is for Legit. If you can’t prove it, you can’t say it. If you can’t do it, you can’t promote it. If you can almost do it, you can’t promote it. If you’ll have the capability in six months, you can’t promote it today. Be honest with yourself about your brand. Challenge your brand messaging with a simple question . . .”How So?” And make sure you can answer that question with absolute certainty.

Follow these four guidelines for each and every brand communication you make and you will be certain of taking your brand and organization to a higher level.

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About The Author

We specialize in b2b, supporting the clients who are the "The Brands Behind the Brands." These are the supply chain partners of brands, either in Tier 1 or Tier 2 positions, who drive value through the delivery of goods, services and technologies. We enjoy blogging about all things related to Branding, Marketing, Inbound, Tradeshows, etc... And we're always happy to talk about any ideas you may have that might Get You To Your NEXT!