Archives for March 2007

In Branding Your Business – History Always Repeats Itself

It doesn’t matter if you’re an individual, a start-up business, or a multi-million dollar corporation, history repeats itself every day regarding your brand. Repeating history plays a vital role in developing and maintaining your brand.

Your “brand” is the personal perception each individual customer experiences every time they interact with your company. An interaction is defined as when a person receives a “touch” from your company. A touch has multiple definitions including, but not limited to, a visit to your website, watching your commercials on television, listening to your radio ads, reading your ads in a magazine or talking with your customer service team.

As in personal relationships, the touch is the most intimate of all interactions. The right sort of touch from a good friend can be remembered for a lifetime. Likewise, a harsh interaction or a rough touch can easily harbor resentment and bitterness for years.
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What’s The Point?

Some years ago, I was listening to a taped presentation by an educator, who was advocating the rather unconventional notion that we should adapt our teaching style to the child’s learning style.

She summed up her approach by asking this rather simple, but profound question: “What’s the point?

The point, of course, is that the child learns. The “how” is quite secondary – if the student learns better by going out into the yard and digging up a root system rather than sitting still at a desk and reading a book, then by all means go out and dig! Just get to the point.

The phrase has embedded itself deep within my psyche, and has morphed to shape my thinking about branding, and my approach to consulting. Almost always, the first question that comes to mind when considering a branding challenge, a marketing initiative, a consulting project, or a written communication, is…”what’s the point?”
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Check Your Brand Positioning in 5 Minutes!

Understanding brand positioning is very important if you want to correct misconceptions and off-brand opinions of your brand.

You may have every intention of analyzing your brand to make sure that it is in a position of strength by participating in scientific research to that end. But first as a litmus test, you might find it useful to do a little under the radar analysis to get a quick feel of your stakeholder’s opinions regarding your brand positioning. We are going to casually ask them.

The idea for this came from a discussion I had with the CEO of an international architectural firm who were coming to terms with their brand. I asked him, “just what do you do at (his firm)?” He quickly gave me his take (elevator speech) on the firm’s qualifications. I thanked him and asked if he felt that his employees would answer that question in more or less the same way. He thought that maybe they would, but he wasn’t certain. I told him to walk up to the first few people he sees the next time he is at his office and ask them, “What do we do here at ABC Company?” I mentioned that he might be surprised by what he hears.

Now he was intrigued.
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Running (Branding) With The Wrong Crowd

Mama always said…

“Don’t you be runnin’ round with the wrong crowd, ya hear. If you do, you just might land yourself in a big ‘ole mess of trouble.”

Mama might need to get into the business of consulting companies on this very principle, because there are quite a few entities out there who are associating themselves with the wrong crowd, and butchering their brand’s value because of it.

Once you become linked to a corrupt individual or business (or one that is perceived to be corrupt), other people begin to label you as an equal evil. Your business could have the purest of intentions, and have a 100 year history of admirable operations, but the moment you start playin’ with the devil you can just about guarantee that your company’s brand value is about to pull an Enron.
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Case Study – Part 2: Break the Rules and Clean up Financially

Are you so focused on following the rules you’ve forgotten that to make your brand shine out what you really need to do is break them?

Too often we are so fixated on finding and then adhering religiously to the “right” formula (so that customers will buy, buy, buy…) what we actually become is just another face in the crowd; a second-hander, inheriting a world we never made. This is why the Linden Lab story appeals to me so much. Founder and CEO, Philip Rosedale, did it his way. Not content with inheriting a second-hand world, he created his as he wanted it (albeit a Second Life and all!). And boy do they shine out.

In Part 1 I explored the necessity for new ideas, and what that can mean for your business in terms of your bottom line. Here I have one main point – which relates to breaking the rules – and I’m going to travel via Linden Lab’s creative internal business model to make it.
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Brand Rally: Experts To Brand Windsor, Ontario

You may remember my old post back a short while ago about Ed Roach from the Branding Experts, and how he is going to brand his city of Windsor. Well, he’s upped the ante now, and is working with Derrick Daye from The Blake Project to give Windsor a reputation that it’s proud of.

So far, Ed and Derrick have made a post calling for people who are interested in joining them in their project and have already invited several people to help out. Unfortunately, I have had to decline Ed’s invitation due to my schedule but if you have any experience with Place Branding, or you know Windsor well, perhaps you should drop by and lend a hand. After all, this is an experience that money can’t buy as you’ll be working with industry professionals such as:

  • Ed Roach (Brand Consultant, The Branding Experts)
  • Derrick Daye (Managing Partner, The Blake Project)
  • And perhaps the invitees such as Eli Portnoy (Founder/CEO, Portnoy Group Inc.), Marcia Hoeck (President/CEO, Hoeck Associates Inc.), Alan Williamson (Destination Brand Developer), Marcia McMillan and John Norman.

I have to say, so far Ed has done a fantastic job of generating awareness for the issue as he has only recently started blogging himself. If you’re keen to see how experts attack a branding project, then I highly recommend following this.

Success & Failure

Success is all there is. Failure is Success misunderstood.

There are only two entrepreneurial emotions… Success and failure. Ultimately, Success is all that exists; but for some reason mankind has decided to confuse the business-person’s mindset with the possibility of failure. Please believe the following truth before reading the rest of this piece…

The illusion of failure is a manufactured emotion that exists in a world of only Success. If you feel that failure exists within your entrepreneurial mindset, you have Success completely misunderstood.

All of us entrepreneurs were born into this business world with loving goals of success in mind; therefore, Success is our natural state of being, since we were born believing in it. Success is all there is, all there was, and all there ever will be. If this is so, then where did the idea of failure ever come into existence?

Just like the monster underneath the bed, we completely fabricated the illusion of failure.

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