Sunday, February 8, 2009

Branding - is it good for you?

Is branding important? Do you know what it is? Don't feel strange if you don't know. Many new business people have very little understanding of branding their business.

By definition, a brand is a "a name, logo, slogan, and/or design scheme associated with a product or service "

You know what the Nike logo looks like. And you know when you see a Coca-Cola or a McDonald's restaurant. Those entities are branded into our minds. We can't shake loose from them.

If you have a product that is widely known you have
brand recognition.

Obviously, not everyone can be a superstar. The Toyota symbol is also a brand but you may not know what it looks like until you actually buy a Toyota car.

Do you know what the Wells Fargo bank logo looks like? I do because we have an account there, but, again, you probably would not recognize it if you don't do business with Wells Fargo.

Many people on the Internet try to brand themselves with a picture, an avatar, or something I see more of every day, a caracature of themselves. Some will combine a logo or caracature with a nick name, like Alice Seba does. Alice is known as the Internet Marketing Sweetie. Her Twitter name is @imsweetie.

Zna, a fitness guru, brands herself with the spelling of her name and also with the name of her corporation,
SmartBodies, Inc. and her domain name, Zna's Twitter name is @ZnaTrainer. Obviously Zna appreciates the value of branding.

So, you can successfully brand yourself alone, especially on the Internet. But if you are going to brand yourself with your name alone, as many do - myself included, you better be sure you don't want to sell your branded website in the future.

A careful management of a brand can
create value. Businesses can brand themselves locally by advertising with their company logo in the newspaper, on the TV and many other places in the local area.

I think the time you spend finding a good brand for your business is time very well spent. You will profit greatly if you succeed and the brand itself may help you succeed.

Photo credit: John McDermott

Greg Cryns
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  1. I know that branding works on a large scale - for the Nikes and Googles of the world - but what value does it really provide for us little guys. I've heard people throw the term, "Personal Brand", around quite a bit. But really a personal brand is merely a reflection of your personality and work. So, it's not something that us little guys really need to pay attention to - it will come naturally. I mean, for us little guys, if you please your clients, your personal brand will be great! If your clients are not pleased, your personal brand will not be any good.

    Those are my two cents. Summary: For the big companies, branding makes sense; for the little companies, it doesn't really matter (it comes naturally).

  2. Toby,

    I'm not sure that I agree with you on this. You must have a few local companies that only people from Minneapolis would recognize? Maybe they are not powerful like General Mills, but still, they do affect the people in your town.

    The Polish lady that said to Guy Kawasake that she LOVED Google. This was before Google made it big. Even Google was a little guy once. So were Apple and Microsoft. McDonald's had that one store in Des Plaines. Santa Claus was a nobody a short 150 years ago. Even the Pope is branded.

    You have a name that is growing in strength.

    Cryns #3

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  4. I'm still on the fence with this one. Until my band (Cryns #3) reaches a critical mass of media attention, the brand means nothing. The folks that attend our shows do not come because of the brand; they come because they are my friends.

    Now, if my band were to get a ton of media attention, THEN we might have a brand to promote and maintain. Until that time, Cryns #3 is merely a reflection of its members' reputations and reach as individuals.

  5. Creating brands worth evangelizing about is often misunderstood. The connection between the core values - the soul of the company and the soul of the customer - is why customers evangelize. They have found a temple of core value at which to worship. It’s mythic. It’s epic. The brand becomes icon because it connects to the subconscious yearnings of the customer, imprinting on the brain. The pictured emotional experience becomes a conduit through which the customer can again be touched by those core values.

    Those pictures and emotions then become language in the brain of the customer. And it’s the language of evangelism.

  6. @Brand4profit - Sure, core values matter. But my assertion is that personal brands don't become valuable until a company reaches a critical mass of customers.

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