written about branding being a set of perceptions, referring to it as a series of mind games - an accepted stance that is well supported by Brand Perception being a key driver of a brand's economic success. Just observe all the cult-branding that's driving brand equity upwards!
||Don't you just love the luxury of mulling over the features in weekend papers? I do. It's a treat for me to peek into an articulate mind and glimpse someone else's insights.
But this particular article bothered me. There was something about it, which I found disturbing, that niggled at my mind for days. What was it? The writer had
Then a question someone asked during a workshop a couple of weeks ago triggered the root cause of my discomfort. We'd been discussing various perceptions, attributes, etc., of branding when he asked "How does Coke do it?" Then it clicked. Coke didn't just "do it".
It was concocted (from the coca leaf and kola nut, hence its name) in 1886 as a medicinal brew and then morphed into a popular soft drink. Its popularity was sustained by research and development and well positioned marketing strategies. In other words, Coke has heritage sustained by statistical results of tests performed over the years. The marketing strategies only capitalise on some
pretty solidly established foundations. It has a high trust factor driving its current cult status that the masses buy into.
Bingo! That was the bothersome part about branding being a set of perceptions or mind games. To be a sustainable brand, the perceptions must be backed by substance. That's how Coke has done it. It has earned its position as a leader, and then marketed that defensible position. The trust factor is a key element that's driving those perceptions.
The problem with some branding attempts is the lack of substance behind the image. Success is measured by how glamorous the projected image, how high the profit margins can be, how to milk that opportunity, and then cash out to move onto creating a new 'brand' a.k.a profit generator. This is, of course, fuelled by an "I must have it too", mentality. Such wonderful fodder for Marketing
Communications strategies and which work very well to draw the crowd, and rake in the profits, huh? To build sustainable equity, however, takes more than keeping up with product life-cycles.
That's the difference between building a brand equity value of billions in US dollars, and an income-generating trend. What brand experience do YOU want to project, and is it sustainable? And I'm referring to personal branding too, which dictates marketability even - or perhaps particularly - in adverse environments. Personal branding is critical in the service sector.
That's also the difference between recruiting people to accomplish tasks, and recruiting potential brand-deliverers. What dictates your recruitment policies? How is your brand delivery managed after you've hired people? Are you empowered to build your subordinates, or only to achieve goals" and objectives? Do you have essence-driven HR Directors in your midst, or only de facto HR executives? Who
is helping to shape your career path? What are the operational ethics that drive performance levels? What is your organisation really delivering to its customers? Are those perceptions of your brand backed by trust or emotion? The answers are what drives the life-span and long-term equity of a brand.
Evelyn Samuel is a Consultant/Trainer and conducts training on brand and management related topics regularly at MIM. Evelyn will be conducting a talk entitled "E-Branding in your Market" on 17 February 2006. For more information on this talk, please contact MIM at +603 2165 4611, visit www.mim.org.my or email