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The Importance of Building A Brand

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brandsBrand is one of the most important parts of a product. Brands can be a value added to a product whether they are in the form of goods or services. For example: If there are two (2) bottles of mineral water filled with the type of mineral water that is equally good in terms of quality and quantity, the mineral water which were given a brand would be considered valuable, better and more qualified than the mineral water that is not.

This additional value is very advantageous for manufacturers or companies. This is the reason why many companies are trying to continue introducing their brands from time to time, especially to their consumers who are the target market.

Brand is the term, sign, symbol, design or a combination where all of these are intended to identify products or services of the company, which distinguishes the products / services with other products, especially products from competitors.

Defining Brand Elements

Some of the criteria that must be considered in defining brand elements:

1. Easy to remember

This means the chosen brand elements should be easy to remember, to be called / spoken. The symbol, logo, name used should be interesting, and unique to attract people to remember and consumed.

2. Has the meaning

The brand element should contain a meaning or explanation / description of the product. This meaning can be expected to influence consumers to consume these products.

Description of the meaning contained can be:

  1. General information on the categories and contents of the product
  2. Important information about the composition of products and how consumers can enjoy the benefits from the product.

3. Interesting and funny

Another approach is to entice consumers with a variety of funny and unique brand elements, by selecting elements that are rich in terms of its visualization and imagination. In this case you’ll enjoy the design that is attractive.

4. Flexible

The brand elements should be understandable and can still be accepted by the regions / markets, even by other cultures. The name that is going to be used should not too difficult to translate. Often, the selections of branding elements are easily remembered by local communities, but it is too difficult to be understood by people from other cultures. This will certainly hamper the manufacturer to enter a new market.

There are several functions of a brand for consumers and companies.

For consumers, a brand will help them to identify a product quality, both in the form of goods or services. Brand will also improve the efficiency of the buyer as it will facilitate the buyers to find the products searched. Additionally, it will help attract the attention of consumers on a new product that may benefit them.

There are several new health products entering the existing saturated market. For example, Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is previously known to be detected during a pregnancy. Recently, after several researches were being done by scientists, this hormone becomes very famous because of its ability to suppress appetite when consumed. The discovery makes a lot of health manufactures produces HCG by branding it into a unique weight loss product. According to authorityfoodnutrition.com, the best HCG diet drops brands are HCG Complex, HCG 1234, and HCG Triumph. The power of creating strong brand elements, make these products enter the market easily and make it to be well recognized by the consumers. A brand will prevent things that are not desired by consumers, both in terms of health risks, the risk of product malfunction, and error rates, or the risk from ineligibility products which are consumed.

On the other hand, from manufacturer side, a brand will facilitate the seller to process orders and track problems that arise. Moreover, it will assist sellers in doing market segmentation and attracting customers/consumers who are loyal and profitable.

From the previous HCG (health product) case perspective, a brand will help identify product excellence, which distinguishes the product with other products, especially the products of rivals.

Companies, both products and services companies, try to increase the strength of its brand in the market from time to time. In this case the manufacturer will strive to introduce the products, by showing the advantages that are not being provided by other products.

The existence of a brand is not merely indicating the name of a product, but more than that. The brand shows the added value of products in various dimensions, which distinguishes the product with other products.

A successful brand building will be formed when the elements of brands advocate to support and provide a positive contribution to the creation of a strong brand in the market. The elements that are meant here is the quality, the ability of products to meet the consumer needs or desires, and the ability of a reliable marketing strategy to continue introducing the brand to the market through all marketing programs.

Thus, by doing all of these strategies, the brands can continue to be known, and consumed by the public (creating consumer loyalty), so that the brand becomes a strong brand in the market.

What Happens in Vegas: Brand Immersion in the American Culture

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whathappensinvegasOnce a brand is so heavily immersed in the American culture, it creates a huge amount of staying power. The brand name turns into a word or phrase used to describe entire categories of products or a lifestyle choice. The perfect example of one brand applying to an entire category is Kleenex.

Growing up i, like many others, did not know the word ’tissue.’ Kleenex is what everyone I knew called them, no matter the brand. To this day, I never use the word tissue. It was something built into my culture as a specific word. When a brand has this amount of pull, the staying power is immense. This of course applies to only one product category. Can you think of a brand that spans the gamut of all product categories?

Cadillac is one such brand. Cadillac has been synonymous with applying as a phrase meaning the “gold standard.” What do mountain biking tips, health care. grilling, power cables and surf shops have in common…

Read the entire article on the Talent Zoo blog Beneath the brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=18181

Cadillac is Back at Hero Status

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bob_ferguson_cadillacOn June 14, 2013, Bob Ferguson, Vice President of Global Cadillac, spoke to a large group of industry professionals at the Adcraft Club of Detroit GM Day. Ferguson is clearly focused on the long-term brand strategy to bring Cadillac back. After some neglect and declining market share for more than thirty years, Cadillac recently has had its highest sales spike since 1976.

Ferguson focused his discussion on Cadillac as an epic tales of sorts. The hero is the automobile, with various sections of the story revealing its true character. Ferguson describes it as a tale with three acts.

  1. Act One: Cadillac is described as the hero in its infancy. It is born. It leads. It is iconic. It holds the virtues of the American public. As many know, Act One lasted for many years, from approximately 1902 through 1976.
  2. Act Two: Things were shifting and the hero that is Cadillac was lazily focusing on size and its past status. Cadillac, the hero, slumped. It was caught off guard by its enemies and the new idea of what an iconic car should be.  Act Two lasted a lot less longer than the previous act, from approximately 1976–2012.
  3. Act Three: Cadillac is described simply as redemption. The hero…

Read my entire article originally published on the Talent Zoo blog Beneath the Brand here: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=17905

Your Past. Your Present. Your Future.

Meeting an old friend is like looking into your past, reminding you of what you love and how you got to where you are. Tweetable.

friend_tweet

When I tweeted this I did not expect the number of positive emotions to come from this sentiment. I began to think deeper about how I felt that night. There are a few friends that some people have that you may not see or talk to in years. However, when you get together, you are transported back to a time that is very different from now. You are yourself, but an outdated model if you will. When I met this friend I was back at the Motorola Razr version of myself – before the Blackberry and multiple versions of iPhones.

Thinking about it in terms of phone upgrades made me think how far I have upgraded myself. My mindset was of a more limited functionality. In a world where everything is so fast-paced and changing rapidly it reminded me that I am achieving my goals. My past has shaped my present and my present is shaping my future. My goal of continual education is paying off.

My present is right here, right now. I am focused. I am focused on learning as much as possible about everything I come in contact with. I am focused on my family. I am focused on my job. I am focused on being my best possible self. For years I have stood firm with this mindset. To see a prior version of myself made me understand that even though my general goals and values have remained the same it has propelled me to new heights.

Do you have a friend like this or have had a similar experience recently? If so, share it with me below. I want to hear about it.

In my tweet I used the word love. I love life. I love my wife, family and friends. I love nostalgia. I love ice cream before dinner. I love to laugh. I love to play complex jazz music at obnoxiously loud levels next to the guy who’s speakers are thumping with hip hop loud enough to rattle the tires clear off your car while stopped at a red light. Sorry for the run-on sentence. But seriously, I love the little things. The thing I discovered was that while my mindset had been upgraded, my love had remained the same. Sure love may evolve, but the specific things that are true to your heart always remain the same.

In business, sometimes brands lose site of what they love and/or what their audience loves. They lose their focus on divert from the plan. Personally I have been down on myself that maybe I am not growing as fast as I should be. Looking back those 5-6 years changed my mind. Look back into the last 5-6 years of your brand. Is your underlying love and focus still there?

Action item: A mentor of mine once told me this and I think it may help you better understand my point. Put your goals, your hopes, your wants and anything else on a piece of paper. Have your spouse do it with you for fun. Tuck the pieces of paper in a jar and stash it away. In five years, open it. You may want to put an expiration date on it or open it on a special day like an anniversary or new years day. When you finally open it you will be amazed at how far you have come.

Dr. Ahuvia and the Brand Love Phenomenon

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aaronahuviaWhat brands or products do you absolutely love that you cannot live without? Most of the time consumers flock towards things like smartphones, iPods, and the like. Last week the American Marketing Association, Detroit chapter, put on an event entitled ‘Brand Love’ with Aaron Ahuvia, Ph.D. at Schoolcraft College. Dr. Ahuvia is the foremost authority on this topic as he was the first researcher published in this area over twenty years ago.

Ahuvia’s explanation of brand love starts with human evolution. “Humans adapt old capacities to new situations,” Ahuvia said. He went on to say, “Love is powerful.” A perfect way of exhibiting this is through anthropomorphism; this is when people take something that is not human and give it human qualities. An example of this is shown in a video of an iCat robot named Daisy. Studies showed that humans had a very difficult time shutting down the robot. Those studied began to develop an affinity for the robot, and when asked to shut it down, Daisy began asking the person not to. See the video here.

Another way this is exhibited is through the saying we heard so many times in our school days: “If you love it so much, why don’t you marry it?” One woman, Erika La Tour Eiffel, did just that. She married the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Ahuvia found that most people actually do love things other than people. The most common things were nature and engaging activities, but closely behind were products and brands. Take a look at Brand Love Central to see the model he developed from this and other studies. Further research by Ahuvia showed that Brand Love helps create sustainable growth and stability in the marketplace.

Is there a formula for success, a love potion of sorts, for brands? Why yes, there is. In fact, there are four key characteristics of brand love, as follows:

  1. Quality and Trust: A brand must start by making sure its products or services maintain quality. Once quality is achieved, trust will need to be maintained. High standards for quality and trust must be present to foster brand love.
  2. Intrinsic Rewards: “Do you love the product or are you just using it?” asks Ahuvia. There is a difference. Certain products people love, while other times people just love the outcome. Ahuvia explained this to the group through tools. Some people use tools because they love fixing motorcycles, for example, while others find love in not only the fixing of the motorcycles but also in the way the tool works, is designed, and functions.
  3. Part of Myself: In this characteristic, Ahuvia explains a term he developed called ‘Looking Glass Love.’ This is a love where we see our own reflection in things that we love other than people. Apple exploited this type of love perfectly in their Mac v. PC television advertisements. The target market was that of a younger generation of people who saw themselves as the Justin Long type compared to the stodgy PC type. This section of brand love brings the deeper connections of love forward.
  4. Part of My Life: “Absence makes the heart grow indifferent,” says Ahuvia. The longer a consumer does not use a product or service, the easier it is to go on without it. To continue to nurture the love, the brand must be a part of the person’s life.

Brand love speaks more for products than it does services. It is most relevant for categories that provide many benefits, have a pleasure aspect, and relate to identity. How will you foster brand love in your business?

Read the original article on the Talent Zoo blog Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=17185

Brain Science in Brand Building

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“60 Seconds: How to tell your company’s story & the brain science that makes it stick” is a little book with a big message. Seriously, the book is shorter than Miley Cyrus’ new haircut. However, it tells you exactly what you need to do to build your company’s brand through the consumers eye via video. A video can engage the audience and leave them with a lasting impression if done right. Author Andrew Angus, Founder and CEO of Switch Video, lays out the process and a look into his proven strategy. Here are a four key points that everyone should take away from this book:

  1. Keep the story simple: Simple storytelling is best. The slogan of Angus’ company is “Explain what you do.” It may sound too simple, and you may say ‘we already do that.’ Truthfully, very few companies get this right. Let your point come across as cleanly as possible. Save the details for later. Most of all, just keep it simple.
  2. Create new old memories: Do this by connecting the past with the present. You can create these new old memories by bringing up an experience, a mindset, or an issue that has been occurring or has occurred for some time. This allows a potential client to connect you with a thought that is deeply rooted in their mind. They will right away store your brand values with these thoughts. Similar to the simplicity factor, do not overload potential clients with too much data or detail. If there are too many new ideas to connect, they will never remember them.
  3. Metaphors expand understanding: You are in the business to solve a problem. No matter what project or service it is, it solves a problem or fulfills a need. Break the story down so it is easy to remember your value-add by using metaphors to your advantage. In the book, Angus describes a brand building video for dog owners seeking playmates for their pups as “eHarmony for dogs.” Without explaining any more of it you understand the concept right away. Metaphors expand the reach of your product or service.
  4. Stimulate both auditory and visual senses: “I know that feeling.” Getting potential customers to say this is one of the biggest keys. Make them realize you care about their issues and understand them. Once you make it there, it is cake.

These four key points work for more than just brand-building videos. It is also easy to put them into your new client pitch. One astounding example Angus describes is focused on Collingwood General & Marine Hospital in Canada. Apparently 70% of the equipment used in hospitals in Canada comes from private funding and is not provided as part of national healthcare. Private donations make up that 70% while the remaining 30% is covered by Canada itself. The video Angus and his team created for the hospital depicted what it would be like in an emergency room if only 30% of the equipment was available to its customers (patients). Imagine that scene. This video changed the way potential donors saw the situation that they have been trying to explain for decades. Brain science works. It just takes a little knowledge and a little handbook.

How would a little brain science help your brand?

Read the original article on the Talent Zoo blog Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=16998

Brand Extensions Gone Wrong

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zippo-fragrance-adBrand extensions can make sense. In many cases, brands emerge stronger because of it. When Tide laundry detergent developed the Tide To Go instant stain remover pen, it was a great move. According to Nielsen, brand extensions are five times more successful than new launches in some countries. This is true with one caveat — when done right.

“Done right” sounds like an easy statement but it is far from the truth. Some brands fail miserably when it comes to extensions because the extension simply does not make sense. It leaves consumers asking “Why?” Here are two examples describing poor brand extensions that left consumers confused:

Failure Numero Uno: Bic Underwear
Bic is known for its disposable pens, its disposable razors, and its disposable cigarette lighters. The Bic brand thought they were large enough to go into other categories as well, so why not Bic underwear? That’s right. They created a line of women’s disposable pantyhose. They did not even want to change the brand name. Consumers did not understand, production and entrance to market costs were high, and in the end it flopped. Other than disposability there was no link between the products. Brand extensions should make sense and be a logical step from the flagship product. This made absolutely no sense, leaving consumers asking, “What were they thinking?”

Failure Numero Dos: Zippo’s Women’s Perfume
The scent is called fruity, but it sprays directly out of a bottle with a flip top that very closely resembles a Zippo lighter. In the market it brings up thoughts of smelling like a smoker or lighter fluid. It could be a decent-smelling perfume, but perception is everything. The key here again is that it is not a logical extension, bringing us to our favorite question — what were they thinking?

So now you may want to know what makes a great brand extension. Here are a few simple key things to keep in mind:

  1. Know your market. It sounds simple but it is not. No company can be all things to all people. Look at what markets you are currently reaching and what their buying habits are. Once you review this it will help steer you in the right direction for a brand extension.
  2. Make it logical. Just because something sounds like a foolproof plan does not mean it fits your brand. Knowing your market will allow you to see which directions are logical for your brand and which are not. It may be determined that there are a number of areas for growth. So how do you determine which area to tackle first? This brings us to part three.
  3. Do your homework. Extending your brand into other categories requires research to do it right. It may seem logical to you from the start, but it pays to make sure your customers think so. Focus groups and the like can be used at this stage. Spending a little extra on research and time at the beginning can save your brand a lot of headaches in the future. You also want to make sure the brand is not simply going into the market because the new director wanted to put his or her own mark on the industry. The data returned at this stage will not lie.

Brand extensions must be planned carefully with proper knowledge of the market and research behind it. Focusing on an extension or change to a popular brand can, at times, bring on devastation and leave consumers disillusioned. After all, you wouldn’t want to pull a New Coke, would you?

Article originally published on the Talent Zoo blog Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=16856

Berline Says “Brand Yourself”

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pencilFifteen minutes into a talk to advertising greenhorns Jim Berline, of the Berline Advertising Agency in Detroit, said “Brand yourself, it’s all about perception.” While the students in Adcraft’s ADvance class may have not known what to think, he went on to say “Perception is more important than reality.” What is your brand? How is it perceived? Did you know there was such a thing?

Berline specified four characteristics needed to thrive at his agency, and any agency for that matter, that are part of personal branding.

  1. Be competitive. Love the thrill of the fight. Self-confidence is key here. You need to have relentless motivation and drive. Always strive to make yourself better and learn from any mistakes.
  2. Be bright.  Know how to multi-task, well. In fact, in today’s day and age multi-tasking should be …

Read my entire article on the Talent Zoo blog Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=16699

The Importance of Typography to Logo and Brand

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chevrolet“A logo is not a brand unless it’s on a cow,” says AdamsMorioka in the Logo Design Workbook. The way consumers view a company builds the brands perception. This starts with the logo but travels far beyond. A logo, a good logo, starts with a study of what the company is and what it is trying to achieve.  What does the font in your logo and marketing materials convey?

Disclaimer: If you think ‘Comic Sans’ is a viable font choice stop reading now.

In the Logo Design Workbook, typography is described as “pictures of words.” Each typeface can bring out a different meaning. Have you ever tried typing the same word 20 times all with different typefaces? Do it now. I will be here.

Now look at what you see. It is the same word 20 times but with 20 different meanings, some slightly and some drastically different. Performing a study of diverse typefaces can be very important, and in high-profile cases may be necessary, to discover options for the brand.

In some instances it may be necessary to create a new typeface altogether. In a meeting of the Detroit InDesign User Group at Schoolcraft College on November 15, 2012, Eric Weir and Martin Smith fromGoodby, Silverstein and Partners Detroit stepped in to discuss their techniques and thought processes behind the 2013 Chevrolet catalogs. Among other design elements, Eric and “Marty” went into detail about the importance of font choice. In the case of the Chevy catalogs they actually commissioned two completely new fonts to be created. One unidentified attendee in the question and answers session said, “You don’t want your plumbing company to look like a Mexican restaurant!” While a plumbing company looking like a Mexican restaurant may sound like a stretch, it is not to some uneducated in the importance of font choice.

For a plumbing company it may be easier to find a font that would work well compared to the largest automaker in the world, but in both cases it is important. The logo should be built with the font choice in mind if at all possible. Since William Durant and Louis Chevrolet probably did not consider this in the early 1900s, we can give them a break. However, the Chevy logo is a great example of how a brand can go through a number of modifications and still stay true to its brand identity.

The logo, the typeface within it, and the corporate identity all go hand in hand. If this seems like an introduction to type it was not meant to be. It is just simply a reminder that something as simple as a typeface can change everything your company, or your client’s company, stands for. What does your company’s font choice evoke?

Article originally published on Talent Zoo for Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=16411

Dear Santa, Traditional Branding Works

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santaChange or die. You hear it often. Change is something people have come to expect in most aspects of their life. Brands are constantly changing and for a number of them they should be. There are a few things that never change, such as the taste of Coke (although they tried), the feel of cotton, and Santa.

Why don’t they change? Why hasn’t Santa been updated to a soy milk drinking vegan under 200 lbs and stripped of the red suit? There are many reasons. The Santa we know today can be mainly attributed to illustrator Thomas Nast. He first illustrated Santa Claus in Harper’s Weekly in 1862 during the Civil War. In total, Nast created 76 published engravings of our beloved Santa. Now you may or may not know, but Santa’s first appearance in advertising was not the popular Coca-Cola campaign that started in the 1930s.

Santa’s first appearance in advertising came by way of the White Rock Beverages in Waukesha, Wisconsin in 1915. Haddon Sundblom continued on the same jolly old Santa trend with his Coca-Cola advertisements from the 1930s through the 1950s. Today, Santa is portrayed exactly the same as he was 150 years ago and is used to sell everything from electronics to cars.

Notice the photo of Santa in that first group of advertisements from White Rock. He really has not changed. And who can explain the phenomenon of someone who normally listens to the likes of Lady Gaga wanting to hear Bing Crosby at Christmastime? There only one explanation: tradition.

Tradition brings consumers back to their childhood. It reminds them of the simpler things in life and brings them comfort. In a world where everybody is trying to find the next new extreme, it is possible to brand using traditional values and still move forward. Every great brand can bring forth a tradition in their own way.

Some brands need to change but some get it wrong. They stray from what made them great and lose. The key is to know your brand story and to build on it. We know Santa comes in on a sleigh, only eats milk and cookies, and lives at the North Pole. We don’t specify the cookies; there could be a thousand different types. This is where Santa can branch out. This is the least barrier to entry for changing something about Santa. Instead of trying to come up with the next new thing out of the blue, ask yourself this: “What are my cookies?”

Photo courtesy of www.whiterocking.com

Article originally published on Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/news/Dear-Santa,-Traditional-Branding-Works/16253.html