Image by Will Lion via Flickr
I travel all over the country, speaking at conferences and conventions on marketing, branding and social media. One of my most popular and requested presentations for the past couple years is Your Brand Is Not Your Logo.
And yet, I find so many people still mis-define branding. Your logo, tagline, color palette etc. are simply tools you use to connect people to your brand.
So, I always enjoy conversations with other marketing pros who share my take on branding. I recently had the opportunity to ask Bobby Riley, CEO of Soldier Design, a few questions. As you’ll see Bobby gets branding. I have to say — Bobby could come work at McLellan Marketing Group any time. He walks our talk. In fact, it’s the basis of our entire proprietary branding process.
Without further ado….Bobby Riley.
Why is branding such a difficult concept for business leaders to wrap their arms around?
Often business leaders get murked in the details and lose sight of the true brand when looking from the inside out. They sometimes forget that brands are about more intrinsic needs and emotions and connecting with the consumer than about the specific details of the product or service. Often these leaders need someone to help them to step outside of the day-to-day to gain perspective on what their brand means to consumers.
Difficulty can come with the inability to see the big picture in terms of relate-ability. Brand is so much more than a logo and a website showcasing a product or service. Brand is the true essence of the company; it should motivate all aspects of the business because it is what the company stands for.
By approaching “brand” as the core of the business, as the path to gaining a deeper connection to customers, constituents and employees, a loyal and lasting relationship can be born.
How is the Brandseeking process different from how most agencies approach branding?
At Soldier Design we have worked for years to develop a method that can assist companies in discovering their true brand. What we have found is that the hardest part of branding is to break away the layers of jargon and attempts at branding to expose the driving force of the business.
With the Brandseeking™ approach, we help management and everyone involved to overcome those obstacles. We look at the brand from a consumer perspective to focus on the elements that connect with the audience on a profound level. This allows us to help the company to rise above the sea of brands, go beyond simply understanding the aesthetics of brand to determine what drives all of its interdependencies.
Ultimately Soldier helps companies connect on an emotional level with their consumers. We utilize exercises for creating Brand Bonds that address mystery, intimacy, performance and trust. These elements lead us to arriving at what we call B.A.N.D.S. – Brands Achieving a Noble Disposition Successfully. With the B.A.N.D.S. perspective we can develop a direction for the company to move forward and fulfill a noble, honest, and trusting relationship with its consumers.
What is the role of the rank and file employees when it comes to brand? How should the company’s leaders engage them with the brand?
We help companies pull together a “brand counsel” that is responsible for maintaining and propelling the established brand and branding initiatives. This counsel is a great way to establish accountability within the organization because everyone must work together to push forward.
In terms of the rank and file employees it is imperative that they are represented in the brand counsel and feel accountability to the brand. The average Joes and Janes often can have greater clarity than executives deeply involved with specific aspects of the company, and that clarity offers an especially important perspective to the process which can also be important in driving the brand home to the consumer.
Good point on the innovation and the fad. I think one of the reasons why people confuse logo and brand is that if brand = logo, that’s easy. Real branding is hard and takes an organization that is truly committed.
Thanks for asking about my presentation. As of right now, it’s not on the net. But stay tuned, I might share it one of these days.
great post! I recently attended a presentation in Sydney by Landor Australia, who had a couple of interesting examples on emotional branding, which they believe will be part of any companies successful branding in the future.
Since many companies don’t understand the true meaning and value of branding, do you think in the current economic climate, companies will turn away from branding, or towards it??
Great question. I think the organizations that already have a strong brand are in the best position to survive and thrive in this economy. So, in theory — I would like to believe that more companies will be drawn to understanding how a brand can change the way they do business.
But the truth is, branding, when done right, is not easy. So I fear that most companies will fail before they’ll do the heavy lifting they need to do.
What do you think?
I think the companies who don’t understand branding or it’s impact will fail. Many are used to direct response sales campaigns and expect results immediately. I think it is a huge change of mindset to overcome this.
I agree…many companies will miss the opportunity because they’re not willing to do the hard work to get the long term gain.
Derek good point innovation and fad.. very good article Drew