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Brand is Everything

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  • Brand is Everything

    Say the word "brand" to most people and they will immediately think of a different, although related, concept: "brand name", such as "Nike", "Pepsi", "IBM" "Ford", or "L. L. Bean".

    The "brand name" is not the brand. It is exactly what the phrase implies - the name given to a brand and promoted to potential customers as the symbol or representation of the brand.

    So, what then is a company's brand? In a nutshell, a company's brand is the sum total of the experience that people enjoy (or not) when dealing with a company, its services and products.

    Customers will form a relationship in their minds between the brand name and their actual experience, true...but the experience is what they think about when your brand name comes to mind or enters the conversation. Advertising is, in part, intended to create an association between a name and certain expectations about what sort of experience people will have if they will do business with your company. However, they also snort with derision when they know (or have heard) that there is a disconnect between the advertising hype and the reality, right? Reality is all that matters.

    L. L. Bean is a very good example of the relationship between brand name and brand. When you do business with this company, you will usually enjoy a superior experience - both in terms of the purchasing process (selection, price, satisfaction guarantee, accurate product descriptions, refunds, etc.) and in terms of the enjoyment and value that you receive from the company's products themselves. THIS IS REALLY THE BRAND BEHIND THE BRAND NAME "L. L. BEAN". If the company had called itself "R.R. GREEN", the BRAND would be the same. Only the brand name would be different.

    Putting it another way, when customers talk about your company, they won't just mention your name (your brand name)...they will talk about their EXPERIENCE with your company. When they think of doing repeat business with won't be your brand name that matters, but your brand - consisting of their prior experience with you.

    All companies have at least two brands: a customer brand and an employee brand. That is, both customers and employees "experience" your company (each in their own way, of course). They think about and talk about your company in terms of your "brand" in their minds, and it is based on their experience with your company.

    ...not your fancy sales literature (promising something that isn't delivered)...

    ...not your promises (forgotten about or unmet)...

    ...not the fact that "you tried" (and failed)...

    ...not the "things beyond your control"...

    ...nor any of your other excuses for failure to provide a superior experience for your customers and your employees.

    Smart companies build solid brands by meticulously and jealously developing the quality of the experience that customers and employees have with the company. THEY UNDERSTAND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE CUSTOMER BRAND AND THE EMPLOYEE BRAND..and that you cannot create a good customer brand without first establishing a good employee brand. Your employee brand will be reflected in your customer brand, whether you like it or not.

    Brand is everything. You can try to "sell" a "brand name" with nothing real behind it, but you will fail. Build your brand, and a lot of the effort and cost involved in establishing your brand name in the public consciousness will take care of itself. Why? Because people will talk about your brand...whatever the brand name might be. Customers would be saying exactly the same things (whatever that is) about Nike shoes, and employees would be saying the same things (whatever that is) about working for Nike if the shoes had been called Cow Patties.

    This is not to say that the judicious selection of a brand name is not an important marketing consideration, but simply to say that a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet. You can have the zippiest name in the world, and you can make the most extravagant claims for that name in your advertising, but your brand name or company name will ultimately derive all of its meaning for customers and employees from their actual experiences with the company, and nothing else.
    Last edited by SecTrainer; 11-10-2007, 11:45 AM.
    "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

    "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

    "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

    "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

  • #2
    SecTrainer these two postings are the most effective disquisition I've ever read in my 50+ years in this business.
    Enjoy the day,


    • #3
      Thanks again Sec Trainer - agree with Bill too though not as mature ....... but you are right. Holding onto reputation (eg. Mattel) is more difficult if you let the systems and processes slide down.
      "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu