11 Crucial Criteria to Creating a Better Brand

Most business professionals have a working knowlege of marketing, but some are less sure about the ins & outs of branding.

I was lucky enough to learn the branding world during my 14 years in the toy industry by working on brands like G.I.Joe, Transformers, Playskool and Little Tikes. I even created the first stories for the back of the blister card packaging for the original My Little Pony toys back in 1983. (Talk about creative writing!!)

There were many many people working on those brands. Nothing happens as the result of just one person. As you can imagine, there is a lot of strategy that goes into creating a strong brand. You’ve got to have all your bases covered, or the result is a weak brand that doesn’t stand for anything.

So how does a smaller business apply the principles of big brands to their brand to achieve all the benefits of branding? I think one way to start is to identify the terms and key phrases of branding.

I was inspired this morning by another marketing consultant who cut his marketing teeth like me, in Fortune 500 companies.

Jay Lipe’s recent article at his blog Smart Marketing identifies the most important terms in branding.

* Value Proposition
* Brand Equity
* Differentiation
* Brand Attributes
* Key Messages
* Targeting
* Segmentation
* Core values
* Integrated Marketing Communications
* Metrics

There are only 10 terms here…Which branding term do you think is missing?

Jay’s criteria is:

1) must be a popular term used in everyday branding work and
2) it must be an important facet in the art of branding.

So, nothing too obscure or insignificant.

So what is missing from this list?

Added bonus: Jay’s company website, Emerge Marketing has a great glossary of marketing terms and lingo. This is a great resource for learning more about marketing as well as a great Search Engine Optimization technique for Jay’s consulting business.

Rebranding a Chrysler into a Nissan? Or more likely a Nissan into a Chrysler!

When is a Nissan, not a Nissan? When it’s a Chrysler…

Yesterday’s article in the Wall Street Journal has rebranding car story about Nissan and Chrysler teaming up to offer a midsize car. It was interesting to me on several levels:

  • I’ve test driven just about all the cars the article talks about, even with Nissan 350z horsepower mods
  • I currently drive the best selling car
  • I almost bought the 4th best selling car
  • I can’t imagine buying those last two
  • It’s going to take a lot of marketing and branding to pull this off…

Seems like people research the cars they buy a lot more than say a computer. Like who actually makes it, regardless of the brand name on the hood ornament. Maybe I’m wrong, but won’t people actually know that it’s actually a Nissan even though it’s called a Chrysler? Obviously, Chryslers are fundamentally different cars to Nissans, with different specifications to meet your needs, and if you own either car you would be familiar with what is needed when it comes to taking care of your Nissan or Chrysler. So, can marketing change how you view these cars? Will a great car be able to overcome a bad brand? Some people may not care about what kind of car they decide to buy, as long as it is shipped to them, using a company similar to Cars Relo and they have it in their possession.

Good idea or bad idea… what’s your thought?

8 Ways I use Social Media as a Branding & Marketing Tool

Social media visual made at wordle.net posted on flickr.com for my branding and marketing blog.I found 8 ways that I use social media in my branding and marketing business:

  1. To find where one of my past business buddies went to work, double check a spelling of a name for a potential new client and see who else they may know that I know – LinkedIn
  2. To learn how to install Lame with Audacity (convert a file to an mp3 with editing software) – YouTube
  3. To fix my notes from a recent seminar (when I can’t read my handwriting) – Google Blog Search/blogs
  4. To get inspired about how to create a powerpoint that people want to watch – SlideShare.net
  5. To figure out where everyone is meeting for a drink after the seminar – Twitter.com or Plurk
  6. To check on my kids and their friends to see their current status – MySpace & FaceBook
  7. To double check someone’s birthday because I forgot to send a card – Facebook
  8. To save the links to my favorite blogs to read when I wake up – RSS feed reader
  9. To find out which of my blog posts are the most popular – Feedburner stats, WordPress Stats
  10. To instantly (under one minute) write and post a blog with a photo with keywords- Flickr.com
  11. To build relationships and learn from other branding & marketing experts – Brandingwire.com blog, Age of Conversation

Okay, so I added 11, not 8 — That’s because number 6 has nothing to do with branding & marketing — so I gave you two bonus ones.  (Note: I’ve written about personal branding in this blog before — and I believe that the photos you put up and comments you make on MySpace/Facebook, even joking, can (will) come back to you. So what my kids & their friends post on line does reflect on their personal branding… AND I know employers actually do check out social media pages and photos before they hire!)

How do you use social media? Leave a comment or write about it on your blog with a tag/trackback to this post.  I’m tagging: Steve Woodruff StickyFigure, Director Tom, Ben Jones at Ben Means Business.

Match Your Product to an Event and Location

Brand an event to market your product.
Baltimore engagement spot
Originally uploaded by cmcbrown

When I was in Baltimore a couple of weeks ago, I noticed this “engagement spot” and thought that it is a clever way to tie an event and a brand to a popular place. Smyth Jewelers uses a tourist photo opportunity as a great way to market and brand their business.

Is there a place or an event that you can tie your brand?
Enagement spot

Update: My company, Marketing Resources & Results, is expanding to serve the Baltimore, Maryland market by offering marketing consulting Baltimore as a new service area.

Five Ways Branding & Marketing is like Blogging…

Blogging goes hand and hand with Branding & Marketing.
1) Blogging is about building relationships
2) Blogging has a point of view
3) Blogging communicates to an audience
4) Blogging changes everyday
5) A good blog has a focus
And you can say the same about branding & marketing. They have a language all their own, you need to be consistent and on-going, it’s complex — not just a logo or a single post, and it’s personal… Corporate speak kills a blog. And branding and marketing as well. You’ve got to relate to the audience. If you are interested in starting a blog, you may be interested in visiting sites similar to Site Beginner – sitebeginner.com.

Mistakes that many make with their brand, marketing program and/or their blog:

1) Try to be all things to all people
2) Try to do it all yourself without involving others
3) Only hear yourself — Don’t listen to your audience… (In fact, the more you listen, the better you understand your focus and point of view/niche)
4) Stay the same — you’ll get old, fast!
5) Dabble here, there and everywhere. Focus helps keep you from getting scattered

In 15 Reasons Why Blogging Matters at Twist Image’s Blog, Mitch Joel explains why the concept of personal brand equals a blog.