Skip to main content

About my new group on LinkedIn, Brand Masters

As begin the process of writing the next book on branding, it seems a good thing to start a conversation. Helps to jog my thinking.

In response to the question, what is Brand Masters all about?
 It's meant to be a discussion for people who have an intense interest in branding + an academic bent. Brand ninjas, brand samurais, disciples of branding who seek to know the Tao, if you will. What drives brand? What makes it work? What are the riddles, the paradoxes, the evolving issues that are unprecedented but that must be addressed?

The first issue is the freebie paradox. Which is, obviously, that - to get known, to move merchandise - one gives something away or discounts it. The joke about "why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" is no joke - it is serious. For five years I personally have given away a great deal of brand insight...and recent comments have led me to question why. They have led me to consider that perhaps I am done building credibility through ubiquity and now must turn to another strategy, exclusivity. I am working on a book. I won't say any more.

The second is the issue of whether you can do a good job branding a client, if you don't especially see eye-to-eye with them or are dissimilar personality-wise. It's something I wonder about, as I can see it going both ways. On the one hand consultant and client do well when they are close; I've seen this dynamic in action. On the other, you are better as a "stranger in a strange land" so that you can see them objectively. How do you handle this? How do you think about it? It's similar, I guess to the journalist who writes about war while embedded.

I see so much of sociology, my native discipline, at work in brandology. And so much of my own life - my own upbringing, the demands of my surroundings - intertwined with the discipline. Just this weekend in the heatwave here in DC, where did people run? Not to any government center that I knew about. They ran to the mall. To plug in their devices, shop for fast food, get a sense of normalcy. Starbucks, Panera, Barnes & Noble were all packed. We were trying to act like everything was OK, but really we were scared that things were falling apart - trees were down all over the place, there were no traffic lights for a long time - and the police were blocking off streets and directing traffic.

I felt scared about what could happen in a more serious disaster. We seemed so unprepared. Brands helped to make us feel better. How is that possible if brands are manufactured, fake?

These are the kinds of things I'd like to explore in the group - the paradoxes and richness that are at the heart of branding. Which, in the end, is creating an artificial person, a religion, out of something that never existed before.

Popular posts from this blog

What is the difference between brand equity and brand parity?

Brand equity is a financial calculation. It is the difference between a commodity product or service and a branded one. For example if you sell a plain orange for $.50 but a Sunkist orange for $.75 and the Sunkist orange has brand equity you can calculate it at $.25 per orange.

Brand parity exists when two different brands have a relatively equal value. The reason we call it "parity" is that the basis of their value may be different. For example, one brand may be seen as higher in quality, while the other is perceived as fashionable.

All opinions my own. Originally posted to Quora. Public domain photo by hbieser via Pixabay.

What is the difference between "brand positioning," "brand mantra," and "brand tagline?"

Brand positioning statement: This is a 1–2 sentence description of what makes the brand different from its competitors (or different in its space), and compelling. Typically the positioning combines elements of the conceptual (e.g., “innovative design,” something that would be in your imagination) with the literal and physical (e.g., “the outside of the car is made of the thinnest, strongest metal on earth”). The audience for this statement is internal. It’s intended to get everybody on the same page before going out with any communication products.Brand mantra: This is a very short phrase that is used predominantly by people inside the organization, but also by those outside it, in order to understand the “essence” or the “soul” of the brand and to sell it to employees. An example would be Google’s “Don’t be evil.” You wouldn’t really see it in an ad, but you might see it mentioned or discussed in an article about the company intended to represent it to investors, influencers, etc.Br…

Nitro Cold Brew and the Oncoming Crash of Starbucks

A long time ago (January 7, 2008), the Wall Street Journal ran an article about McDonald's competing against Starbucks.
At the time the issue was that the former planned to pit its own deluxe coffees head to head with the latter.
At the time I wrote that while Starbucks could be confident in its brand-loyal consumers, the company, my personal favorite brand of all time,  "...needs to see this as a major warning signal. As I have said before, it is time to reinvent the brand — now.  "Starbucks should consider killing its own brand and resurrecting it as something even better — the ultimate, uncopyable 'third space' that is suited for the way we live now.  "There is no growth left for Starbucks as it stands anymore — it has saturated the market. It is time to do something daring, different, and better — astounding and delighting the millions (billions?) of dedicated Starbucks fans out there who are rooting for the brand to survive and succeed." Today as …