Brand: It Ain’t the Logo (It’s What People Think of You)

Summary Written by Chris Taylor
"Yet it's very scary, because adopting a single position means forgoing all others. So most Brands water down their point of difference in an effort to avoid alienating anyone. The result, instead, is a Brand that doesn't deeply resonate with anyone."

- Brand, page 35

The Big Idea

Limited Brain Space

"...while always, always keeping in mind the number one rule of Branding: be consistent."- Brand, page 48

Here’s a fundamental problem for most marketers and business leaders: We’re surrounded by our brand every day. We see the logo, brand colors and taglines every day, several hours a day. We are informed as to the “big picture” of how all the pieces fit together, and the messages we’re trying to share with the outside world. The outside world, by comparison, gets our message in pieces scattered throughout their day, and interspersed with a million other messages from a million other companies and brands. What’s the problem here?

The problem is that it’s easy for us to get tired/bored/sick of our branding long before our target customers are even aware of it.

It doesn’t matter what you think of your logo, colors, messaging, etc. It matters what the customer thinks. It matters that we “stay the course” long enough to sink into the conscious and subconscious brains of our clients. It matters that we repeat ourselves over, and over, and over again in a consistent fashion. This isn’t sexy. It isn’t splashy, and it’s not as exciting as doing something new. But it works.

Insight #1

"Fresh", not "New"

"These creatives may or may not realize that coming up with something fresh is actually a lot harder than dreaming up something new."- Brand, page 55

As Matthews points out in the book, the advertising and marketing worlds are particularly fond of award shows; of patting each other on the back and glamorizing innovative advertising campaigns. There’s an expectation and desire in advertising to “make your mark” by creating something new and noteworthy, both for public acclaim and as a resume builder. The challenge, as we discussed in the The Big Idea, is that New destroys traction and brand recognition. New confuses the audience, splintering the coherent understanding of what the brand’s about. In a world saturated with marketing messages, confusion or fuzziness as to what a brand stands for can mean capitulation or even death. Be fresh, by all means – l look for new ways to express the same values and/or iconic imagery (Energizer Bunny, anyone?) – but don’t go “new for new’s sake”. It’s not about you. It’s about the audience and their understanding of what you stand for.

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Insight #2

Give them Clarity

"Give the proper tools to a group of people who like to make a difference, and they will."- Brand, page 131

To hammer this point about consistency home, let’s talk about brand advocates in general, and social media, specifically. Now, more than ever, people are aligning themselves with brands that share their values; values like quality, safety, philanthropy, innovation, family, etc. People are proud of the brands they buy from and want to share the message. What message are you giving them to share? Have you made it easy for people to talk about you? Have you made it easy for a number of different people to share a consistent message? Have the discipline to stick to a single message and then provide sound bites, links, contests, stories and examples that reinforce the point. Make it easy for people to promote you in a unified way. Waves crashing into one another may make a short term splash, but tidal waves build by water moving consistently in the same direction over long distances. Commit to the power of a tidal wave.

Brand: It Ain’t the Logo is an excellent reminder that marketing isn’t about your latest ad, but instead is your customers (ideally) deep rooted understanding of what your company stands for. Certainly if you work in marketing, but particularly if you own the company or work on the senior leadership team, you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy and commit to the short read. You’ll be glad you did.

Read the book

Get Brand: It Ain’t the Logo (It’s What People Think of You) on Amazon.

Ted Matthews

Ted Matthews may have persuaded adidas to bring back The Three Stripes and convinced Energizer not to kill the bunny, but as Canada’s original and foremost Brand coach, he continually pushes his clients to understand that Brand is not the logo, the website or the advertising. A Brand is what people think of you™.As an entrepreneur, Ted built Promanad Communications into an 80-person firm that, over a span of 30 years, served an extensive list of blue chip clients. When it became clear that most professionals operate as if a Brand really is merely the logo, he sold Promanad and founded Instinct Brand Equity Coaches. Drawing on his own experience as a CEO, Ted teaches his clients to embed, throughout the organizational culture, instinctive behaviors that help their Brands earn a spot in the minds and hearts of increasingly discerning stakeholders.Ted’s dogged pursuit of the Instinct Mission – to challenge and support business leaders to maximize the potential within their Brands – has spurred some of the most successful Brand evolutions in North America. He has been an integral force behind the Brand-building efforts of organizations like adidas, Manulife, Oxford Properties, Strata Health, AtlasCare, Quadrangle, IAMGOLD, PICKSEED, Investment Planning Counsel, Steam Whistle Breweries and ornge.Ted challenges his clients to maximize the potential within their Brands by embracing the lessons of his book – Brand: It Ain’t the Logo* – a Globe & Mail 2011 bestseller.For his pearls of wisdom and famously entertaining style, Ted is a sought- after speaker for business schools, corporations and professional associations. Helping lay the groundwork for future Branding excellence and building from his 18 year involvement with the Young Presidents Organization(YPO), he also makes time to coach young entrepreneurs.While Ted Brands himself a master woodworker, his wife Marsha is more likely to call it, “making sawdust”. The two live between the island cottage he built in Muskoka and the desert home they designed together near Phoenix.

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