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Brand building tips

What is the brand of … branding?05 Feb

If you follow my blog, you have probably noticed that I often like to explore quite intricate and quirky techniques used in branding. For instance, on previous occasions I’ve talked about international aspects of brand strategy, dynamics of co-branding, or the relevance of country of origin to product branding.

All pretty advanced branding stuff.

But once in a while, I feel it’s necessary to start anew, and go back to basics. I have done this on several occasions, for example in this short post about the difference between branding and marketing. 

Today,  let’s go back to basics once again, and define the brand of branding. I’ve had this on my to do list for a while, and I even launched a LinkedIn discussion on the subject a couple of months ago.   During my experience of working with clients on branding projects, as well as talking about branding during workshops and conferences, I’ve come to realize that overall, people have no difficulty defining the concept of “brand”.

There’s usually a lot of agreement that “brand” stands for “promise”, “trust”, “personality”, and other attributes that people can easily define.   However, when it comes to defining “branding”, or “brand strategy”, things start getting  a little bit more complex. I’ve often felt that, when people say, “Let’s do some branding”, they often mean, “Let’s create a logo, and brand name.” This is where the brand of “branding” gets really weak. Although logos and other visual identity attributes are very important,  and their creation IS certainly part of branding, they are not all there is to branding.  Moreover, logos should be put in place as a result of an in-depth brand strategy exercise, which centers around such elements as pricing and distribution strategy, brand positioning statement, and others.

It’s only when the value proposition of your product, or company, has been defined, that you should think of how to translate it into visual form.  It’s also much easier to work on your visual image if you know what your product, or company, stands for exactly.

Whereas branding is an excellent framework which can be used for overall business development, and creating excellence in organizations, its relatively weak brand positioning simply doesn’t play to its strengths. Why is branding mostly perceived as work on logos, and what would you do to reposition branding?

Related posts:

  1. 8 examples of co-branding & brand partnerships
  2. Branding affects all company functions
  3. 5 reasons why branding works for B2B
  4. Branding creates, marketing competes

One Response to “What is the brand of … branding?”

  1. Andrea Gregoire Reply

    Olga I am with you 100% on that one! We call the logo and look the corporate identity — come to think of it, maybe we should be even more specific and call it visual identity.

    Now here is a thought: the name brand came from the whole idea of branding cattle, doesn’t it? A ranch would put their name (a visual identifier)on their livestock to permanently mark them as theirs. Maybe we (marketers) should start using a different term altogether — corporate reputation/personality, etc. instead.

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About Olga

Olga Slavkina is an international brand and marketing strategy expert based in Brussels and managing partner of SCHMOOZY FOX. Originally from Latvia, Olga was educated in the United States, where she was a Fulbright student at The Fletcher School (Tufts University), and Spain. She holds an MBA from IE Business school in Madrid, which holds the No. 1 position in the 2012 Financial Times ranking of European business schools.

Fluent in several European languages, Olga works with companies around the world to help them launch new products and services, reposition existing ones, and make them relevant and meaningful to their customers.

Olga’s expert opinion on branding and marketing has been featured in Financial Times, TechCrunch, Personal Branding Blog and other publications. Olga’s concept of Funky Brands™ has been nominated for the Accenture Innovation Award 2011. Olga tweets as @schmoozyfox.

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SCHMOOZY FOX is based in Brussels, Belgium and serves customers internationally.


Email: olga (at) schmoozyfox (dot) com