brandXpress blog

What Branding Is? What Branding Is Not?

November 25th, 2008 · 1 Comment · 1,302 views

Interesting post on the subject at Branding Management:

Think of your brand as a promise … a promise you make to your clients, prospects, employees, and even your vendors. But before you make that promise, be sure you never forget this fact. It is imperative that you are able to back it up. You cannot build a successful, long-term brand on unsupported claims and wishful thinking. History is littered with companies — big and small — that have promoted themselves or their products as something they would like to have lived up to but could not.

To separate you from your competition, your brand — your promise — has to differentiate you from others in the minds of your prospects. This is the reason you cannot use quality, integrity, or price when positioning yourself in your marketplace. So many companies claim to offer these particular characteristics that none of them stand out from the others. BMW has taken note of this. Although it is thought by many to be the best car made, the company has built its brand as “a driving machine.” It sells the experience. BMW knows that there are other high quality cars on the market, so a brand built on quality would be diluted and therefore, less profitable.

→ 1 CommentCategories: Branding

Key Brand Elements

November 17th, 2008 · 1 Comment · 29,129 views

There were probably mentioned before, one way or another all across this blog, and not only. I just feel the need to remind them and put them in a structure. No brand can live without them, all efficient brands have them.

The most important elements of a brand should be:

Brand Position

  • Who is addressed by company’s branded products or services. What the company does and for whom
  • The company’s unique value and how customers benefit from products and/or services
  • Key competitive differentiators, what makes the brand be chosen, be different from its competitors

Brand Promise

  • The ONE most important thing that the brand promises to deliver to its customers — Every time!
  • What customers and partners should expect from every interaction, how should they feel as brand’s customers

Brand Personality

  • What the brand is to be known for
  • Personality traits that customers, partners, and employees use to describe the company. What comes to the (potential) customer’s mind when addressed about the brand

Brand Story

  • The company’s history and how the history adds value and credibility to the brand
  • A summary of products/services/solutions

Brand Associations

  • Physical artifacts: name, logo, colors, taglines, fonts, imagery
  • Ideally, it must reflect the all the above statements about the brand and the company

→ 1 CommentCategories: Brand Elements

Connect the Branding Dots

November 17th, 2008 · No Comments · 501 views

Logos, websites and marketing materials have to work together to create a positive impression – and put money in your pocket.

Trust means your future customers believe you’re likely to be honest and competent, and will deliver a good experience. Sometimes trust comes from friends telling friends they had a great experience. But most of your future customers wont have word-of-mouth to rely on. They have to decide on their own whom to trust. Thats the mission of your logo, website or brochure, to create your business dress and body language–your visual branding.

Here are a few basics to help your business look credible:

  1. Go for simplicity and lack of clutter. (Think Apple, the master of simplicity in branding.)
  2. Create or demand a clean, well-balanced graphic design.
  3. Use one or two basic colors that go well together, not a hodgepodge.
  4. Choose one font and stick with it. You can express almost anything by using variations within a single font family: size, weight (boldness), italics, etc. If you really must, choose a second font for major headlines. But first try it with one font.
  5. Coordinate a single look – design, colors, etc. – across everything you do, including your logo, website, brochures, ads and signage.

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Brands in Time of Crisis

November 11th, 2008 · No Comments · 754 views

When Summer Mills visited her local CVS drugstore recently, to save a few dollars she bought the store-brand facial scrub rather than the Olay version she normally uses.

“I thought I’d be able to tell the difference, but I couldn’t — I looked at the ingredients and they seemed almost the same,” says 30-year-old Ms. Mills, a stay-at-home mother of two in Ardmore, Okla. On her next shopping trip, “I’m going to buy the store-brand moisturizer and cleanser — it’s less money.”

Many Americans are changing their everyday purchases and abandoning brand loyalty, prompted by the persistent financial pressure of rising food, gasoline and electricity prices. 

Retailers are also sensing more shopper experimentation. This fall, supermarkets Safeway Inc. and Kroger Co. noted that sales of their store brands are on the rise. “In this economy, customers are much more willing to try a private-label item, and we’re seeing signs that this is happening more and more as the year progresses,” Kroger CEO David Dillon said on a conference call.

To be sure, overall sales of name-brand goods are still higher than those of store brands. Still, about 40% of primary household shoppers said they started buying store-brand paper products because “they are cheaper than national brands,” according to a September report by market-research company Mintel International, which interviewed 3,000 consumers. Nearly 25% of respondents reported that it is “really hard to tell the difference” between national brands and store brands of paper products. Store brands on average cost 46% less than name-brand versions, Mintel found.

The above paragraphs are extracted from todays WSJ’s article At the Supermarket Checkout, Frugality Trumps Brand Loyalty .

Crisis provides brands a challenge and an oportunity. Is the time that most of the brands will be put to test by tougher buying conditions or pricing beyond brand as a final buying argument.

It’s the time new brands can made their way up into the consumers minds and benefit later from surviving these harder times.

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Country Brand Index 2008

November 10th, 2008 · 3 Comments · 3,395 views

This is the fourth year that FutureBrand, a leading global brand consultancy, has issued its Country Brand Index. After conducting substantial qualitative and quantitative research, this year’s Index includes rankings and trends as well as country brand analytics, travel motivations and insights into the challenges and opportunities within the world of travel, tourism and country branding. With polling expanded to almost 2,700 international travelers on even more criteria, this year’s Country Brand Index is more comprehensive, extensive and insightful than ever.

This year, Australia earns the first spot as the world’s top country brand for the third consecutive year. Not among the top 10 two years ago and rising from its sixth place ranking last year, Canada is recognized second and the United States rounds out the top three country brands in the 2008 study. Other countries making the top 10 include Italy, Switzerland and France. This is the Country Brands Index 2008 top-ten country brands:

  1. Australia
  2. Canada
  3. United States
  4. Italy
  5. Switzerland
  6. France
  7. New Zealand
  8. United Kingdom
  9. Japan
  10. Sweden

This year’s CBI touches on a variety of topics relevant to travelers and tourism professionals including: intergenerational travel (represented by countries such as the U.S., Canada and Japan), medical tourism, mainstream luxury (represented by countries like Japan and Spain), ‘stay’cations and a rise in the off-the-beaten-track trips. Other notable trends this year focus on niche travel opportunities and the changing destination landscape.

The Country Brands Index 2008 rankings for specific dimensions of the brand and here are some examples and the top performers: [Read more →]

→ 3 CommentsCategories: Country Branding

Brand Attack on the Ries’s Blog

October 30th, 2008 · No Comments · 473 views

Well seems that the topic I mentioned here just a little earlier, Brand Attack on the Rise, was took over as a main subject on brand guru Laura Ries’s Blog, in a post on how and when a brand shoul attack.

In general, the leader should never attack or name the competition. Instead the leader should promote the category. By attacking a competitor or responding to an attack ad, the leader only legitimizes the competition and the existence of a choice. Neither is good.

If under attack, a leader should instead address any problems with PR. Never with advertising. When Apple says consumers are frustrated with Vista in its advertising, Microsoft shouldn’t run ads saying everybody loves Vista.

That above, is just a quote. More, with examples and details on Ries’s blog here.

→ No CommentsCategories: Brand Management · Strategy

Pepsi Rebrading

October 29th, 2008 · 2 Comments · 2,836 views

After seeing decreases in sales in different beverage categories Pepsi has decided to its branding to work and help revamp the lost glory.

It’s not the firs nor the last of big brands that seems to think that their slumping sales will recover by slight changes in their branding. I’m not sure that this is the right answer or just an effort in the wrong direction at not the right time.

It took the designers five months to finalize the (new?) iconic logo. Five months and $1 million dollars for the design.

The purpose of the rebranding? “Making the logo more dynamic and more alive … [it is] absolutely a huge step in the right direction” said Frank Cooper, Pepsi’s VP-portfolio brands

So far, branding experts are in both camps. “It’s tilting the whole brand presentation from a classic expression of uniqueness and quality into something that is much more humorous, almost flippant,” said Tony Spaeth, an identity consultant. “It worries me that it is less durable, less permanent and classic. It comes across as more of a campaign idea than an enduring brand expression.” 

The new logo is Pepsi’s 11th in its 110-year history. Five logos have been introduced in the past 21 years, with the last update in 2002. 

Pepsi Logo

Pepsi Logo

→ 2 CommentsCategories: Re-Branding · Top Brands

4 Tips on Persuasive Branding

October 28th, 2008 · No Comments · 709 views

Most of us think of our brand as a tool for communicating who we are and what we do. We think of logos or catchy names — totems that convey the mission or identity of our businesses.

A good brand does express identity,  Cheryl Heller, the founder and CEO of Heller Communication Design said. But great branding goes one step further. You must think of your brand less as a tool for communicating identity, and more as a tool for conveying a promise.

1. Be brief. Be clear. “Clarity and brevity do not come naturally to entrepreneurs with a mission,” Heller lamented. Use the Ritz Carlton promise as an example. Notice it does not include words like “luxury” or “hospitality.”

2. Don’t clutter your brand promise with references to how you differentiate yourself.“Who you are and what you do is core to your brand promise,” Heller said. “How you do it, that changes as you grow.” Wizbang as your technology is, it is only one of your tools. Don’t mention it.

3. Avoid common words used by other companies. Heller’s examples: strategy, core values, mission, vision, operational excellence, efficiency, value-added, character, integrity, positioning, sustainability, corporate citizen, cause.

4. Speak to all your constituents: customer, partner, investor, or employee.


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Brand Attacks on the Rise

October 27th, 2008 · 1 Comment · 438 views

Marketing seems to have entered a new era of attack ads. 

Perhaps it’s the tight economy and the idea that the way to grow in a recession is at the expense of your rivals; maybe the presidential candidates have set the tone for TV advertising; or it could be the influence of those masterful and highly effective Mac vs. PC spots. Whatever the reasons, comparative ads — some of them pretty aggressive — are all the rage.

First there were the Dyson vs. Hoover ads, the Miller Lite vs. Bud Light spots (remember the Dalmatian leaping off a truck?) and Huggies vs. Pampers (delivering a literal brickbat with a spot showing a mom diapering a brick). 

Now Time Warner has said it will go after Verizon in its new campaign, serving a counterpunch to its rival’s claim that Fios internet service is “10 times faster than cable.” In a seeming homage to the Apple ads, the Fios spots feature its installer humorously interacting with a hapless cable installer. 

You can read more about this in a very interesting AdWeek article. The subject pointed here is very interesting. It seems that the number of ads in this field are continuously increasing. All these while in Europe and in most parts of the world this kind of ads are banned by market regulators.

The question which come up is obvious: How this kind of ads influence a brand over time?

→ 1 CommentCategories: Brand Management

7 Elements of Small Business Branding

October 27th, 2008 · No Comments · 2,982 views

Every business can increase the value they offer their customers by promoting one of the above. Before choosing which one you’ll offer customer, it is important to understand what drives the consumers to buy. Many ecommerce businesses think the secret to success is ‘low price.’

  • Trust – can you deliver ‘on time?’
  • Security – Does your program focus on client’s privacy and security?
  • Relationship – Can clients IM you, ask questions, follow the project step-by-step?
  • Increase Customer’s Potential – Can you offer something no one else can offer?
  • Social Standing – Can you make them look wealthier, sexier, more influential?
  • Power – Do you have what it takes to increase your client’s power?
  • Free – Consumers who are motivated by price can feel they are being ‘treated right’ if they give their clients something real. Not an ebook – but a membership or passing on an association newsletter.

→ No CommentsCategories: Brand Elements · Small Business