New Marketing BuzzWord: Branding turns into Bonding

Another marketing buzz word… Maybe branding (stemming from a hot brand on the rear of a steer) is a little crass. But I’m not sure bonding is that much better… it reminds me of bondo on a car, or something expensive for your teeth.

This from Brad Williamson at Small Business Marketing:

This is why I’m pushing for a new marketing movement – A movement that involves accumulating sales via strategies that are less-dependent upon brands, and more dependent on the creation of emotion-filled relationships between products and consumers. Such a relationship can be developed when a product’s nuts and bolts are valued for their true quality, and its personality (brand) is emotionally appealing.

I think it’s still branding, but with another name. The term branding feels like it’s being pushed onto the consumer, but the term bonding implies a loyalty stemming from the consumer. If the brand advertiser is the one seeking the bonding, wouldn’t it remind you more of stalking than bonding.

I really feel the branding and marketing process is one of a courtship, where both sides take a role. Call me naive.

Seven Steps to Building a Strong Brand

Is your New Year resolution to build a stronger brand in 2007? If so, these seven steps may help.

1. Develop your benchmark. Measure your client’s or consumer’s and/or customer’s experience.

2. Compare your organization to the various competitive choices available to your target market. (Don’t tell my you don’t have any competition!!)

3. Analyze your SWOT. (Outline your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Hint: Strengths and weaknesses are internal. Opportunities and threats are external.)

4. Focus on the Opportunities. Expand on your Strengths. Capitalize on your competitor’s weaknesses.

5. Identify your message. Carve out your niche.
Create the branding images. Think visually. Your message has to communicate in a second or two. (Did you read Malcolm Gladwell’s book: Blink… if so, you know what I mean.)

6. Time & Money. Layout the timetable. Identify your budget components. Estimate your investment.

7. Implement the branding tactics.

This seven step program also provides strategy for rebranding your current brand by updating and honing your message to match your target market.

Tags: Marketing Branding Target Market Rebranding

Style Guides: One Key for Revamping the Marketing of a Brand

Even when I’m not at work, I can’t stop thinking about marketing and branding. I guess it’s getting in my blood. My son is a senior and has entered into the college application process. So we’ve spent quite a bit of time on various colleges and university websites.

As a branding professional, I see tremendous branding opportunities in the way many of the college websites are handled. Poor navigation. Clutter. Conflicting information. Some sites feel like they’ve been added to and tacked on and grown organically without any rhyme or reason. It is easy to criticize what is obviously wrong. It’s harder to find good examples of what to do right.

As an example of what I consider good work in branding a university, here is BrandLogic’s case study from St. Johns University. They did a nice job of cleaning up the clutter and focusing on brand. Visually it is clean, focused, good use of color.

But, like any good branding campaign, it didn’t begin with the visual, it began with the strategy. A focus on the customer… the target… the who. In the case of new admissions: it’s a primary target market of three: the parents, students, and high school guidance offices.

Also like most branding campaigns, the visual graphics are the most noticeable, but I believe it’s the strategy behind the clean visuals that really drives the impact home:

  • editorial guidelines
  • key positioning messages for specific audiences
  • attribute words
  • as well as the photo style guides

Brandlogic did a great job of showing what they did for the university, including an outstanding style guide… and after I dug deeper on their site, I found a very sophisticated, well developed process for developing brands and implementation across all areas of marketing: Lots of tools, repeatable processes and logical system for developing a brand and implementing the strategy.

Well done!

Related Post:
Too many stakeholders: Rebranding a University

Tags: Marketing Branding University Branding Rebranding Style Guide