Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Are Brands Even Real?
Let's take a step back and think about it. What are brands anyway? Aren't they this kind of fuzzy idea that no one can define perfectly? Does labeling something a brand make it a brand?
When I think about brands, it's about attaching labels and identities to things and imbuing them with human qualities. But isn't it really all about quality products and innovation and outstanding service and responsiveness and trustworthiness? Isn't it also about what your product or organization stands for and how you treat your customers? It can also be about creating a unique value proposition and consistent messaging. And it can be about making promises and creating real value and differentiation.
So, in a way, "brand" is an umbrella or catch-all term for managing the branded item in a way that makes it stand out and achieve marketplace success. It is a set of tools, techniques and measurements that lead to uniqueness and superiority. It is a process and a methodology. It is a discipline. It is a gestalt.
And, in a way, that is what makes brand management so difficult. It is so much more than marketing communication or even marketing. It is about creating and maintaining a successful identity and strategy for your organization and its products and services.
So, whether brands are real or not, they serve a very useful purpose. And frankly, it is much better to be a strong brand than a commodity. To this I say, "Long live brands!"