When it comes to Branding…you’ve gotta’ keep running to stay in the same place…

Let’s face it – Branding has always been a key factor in our personal identification with things:

From the Cutting edge to the mundane and humdrum?
From the Glamorous to the plain/Vanilla
From the Luxurious,High fashion to the affordable and totally unfashionable
From the Unaffordable/ Un-attainable to the totally ubiquitous
From the Exclusive to the accessible to all

So does that mean any brand can ever afford to sit on its Laurels? Of course not!

Brand loyalty is truly a function of those rarest of rare brands that have made an unequivocal promise to deliver the best quality, value for money and lifestyle enhancing characteristics – to it’s users.
This means that when you pay top dollar for an established brand – you get back in return exactly that – best quality, best value for money and a unique identifier that sets you apart as a member of an exclusive group of individuals who possess a unique ‘lifestyle’

The truly great brands span a broad spectrum of demographic and psychographic as well as pricing bands…from the eminently affordable icons like Coke and Pepsi, MacDonald’s and Wal-Mart to the esoteric, high end lux brands like Luis Vuitton, Lexus, BMW or Burberry.

What each has in common is an unswerving commitment to their customer, a reputation for consistent and predictable quality  and an innate ability to stay ahead of the next ‘great’ idea, thought or product revolution curve, well before it begins to take shape on the distant horizon.

These brands are always looking over their shoulder in anticipation that the  specter of complacency and /or the FDL (fat, dumb,lazy) syndrome may be gaining  ground.
They are always challenging the status quo and exploring different ways and means of keeping their brand fresh, vibrant and ever desirable.

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I am intrigued that there seems to be such a lot of negativity (or absolute, utter, disbelief) in the idea that Branding can truly be a science, or a predictable process that can add value to a Corporation’s Market Position, Image, Market Share, Customer Loyalty, and Longevity.

Consider this as a potential (loosely stated) definition of the Brand and Branding:
No Brand can be nurtured, developed and established unless every single Cent spent on advertising, is directly driving towards that singular question: “How can we build up our brand?”
It is said that 95 of all advertising is created ad hoc (David Ogilvy – in ‘How to create advertising that sells’).
Ogilvy goes on to suggest that most products lack any consistent image from one year to another.
Ergo the manufacture who dedicates his advertising to building the most sharply defined image for his/her brand gets the largest share of the market.

So it becomes apparent that the Brand does not exist in isolation, but is instead, is a direct result of Advertising investments, and consistency of approach in striving to achieve as sharply defined an image as possible of how the Brand should be perceived.

DAGMAR, or defining advertising goals to measure advertising results – is a process that can be easily aligned to the concept of creating and developing a highly recognizable brand (think BMW 3 Series, Lexus, Apple, Airbus).
Both (Advertising and Branding) become the wood behind a single arrow…the Corporation’s Branding/Advertising strategy to ensure every Cent they spend is put behind building and constantly sharpening their brand image.

We do not invest in Advertising without any expectation of a direct correlation to projected, improved sales?
We always look for forecasted, predictable buying behaviours as a result of specific, targeted Advertising effort. And this is where the Brand Image comes into play…all things remaining equal, would you buy that Nissan over that BMW 3 series…as a matter of fact, even if all things were not equal, but you had the power of choice…would you buy that Nissan over that BMW 3 series?

I believe a part of the wisdom of creating brands that are larger than life is exactly that – they bring larger than life promises to the consumer…that lesser brands are just not able to deliver with conviction and finesse!

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