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Brand Creation Myths

Effective branding can build your reputation, push you ahead of your competitors, and allow you to set standards for your market, i.e. premium pricing. Name recognition gains consumer trust, and in turn, more loyalty. Here are some of the biggest brand creation myths.

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1. A brand is a logo and a visual identity.

In certain contexts, you can call a logo a brand, but that’s missing the big picture here. Your logo is just the signature that represents your company, and your visual identity is the “look and feel” of it. Your brand is the emotional and psychological relationship you have with consumers. Learn more about the differences between a logo, an identity, and a brand.

2. Marketing and branding are the same thing.

The biggest difference here is that brand creation depends on the public in order to exist, and marketing does not. Branding is a two-way street. It’s a combination of what your company stands for (brand values) and the gut feelings people get when your company pops into their heads (brand image). It is the opinions people have about the complete customer experience you offer, from your product demos to your sales calls to your technical support to your returns policy.

Marketing is a goal oriented activity. It is the methods used to achieve your desired business outcomes, namely, to get more customers and get more dollars from those customers. Marketing shows the public what your company does and turns their heads in your direction.

3. I’m just starting my business, so I don’t need to do any branding yet.

Whether it’s a strong brand or a weak brand, you’ve already got one. In business, you will always know where you’re headed if you start with the end in mind. Knowing what your goals are allows you to move forward with less confusion and indecisiveness. Since you already have a brand, then you might as well start working on it right away by influencing how you want people to see it. Don’t wait! Consumers’ perceptions certainly don’t wait for you, and your competition probably isn’t waiting either. What image do you want to project? How do you want to be perceived by the public? What attributes do you want people to associate with you?

4. I have a great product, so I don’t need to focus on branding so much.

Lack of branding is one sure-fire way to make sure your product fails. Good branding cannot make a poor product sell, and poor branding cannot make a good product sell. Packaging is another essential point why products need branding.

5. The company controls the brand.

For as long as you’re in business, people are going to say good things and bad things about your company. Can you control how people think? Of course not. You can, however, influence how people view your company (mainly) by the actions you take and (to a lesser degree) the things you say. Does your company live up to its brand promises? Does your service meet or exceed your customers’ expectations?

6. Branding is expensive.

Brand creation can be accomplished with almost any budget. Once you’ve positioned yourself against your competitors and crafted your clear message, just start communicating with people. Be yourself (unless you’re a jerk) and offer value to your audience. Send them resources and information they find useful, ask them questions, and don’t try to sell them anything. Find out what social websites they are using the most, and talk to them there. What’s more, there are so many easy ways to fine-tune your brand’s image, such as thoughtful customer service, personalized telephone talk, consistent email signatures, and sending out holiday cards to customers.

7. Naming and logos are expensive and worthless

Yes, some companies go way, way overboard on naming and logos, but that need not be expensive and it’s certainly not worthless.

8. Big brand loyalty is dead.

The Internet killed it. While it’s true that the Internet is a great equalizer in many ways, in other ways, it has the opposite effect. For example, many believe that Google isn’t really a superior search engine to Bing, and yet Google is one of the most highly valued global brands, primarily because it’s become an internet verb. Apple has tremendous brand loyalty and value because it makes consistently great products. Big brand loyalty is still very much alive and well.

9. Branding only matters for consumer companies.

Most companies don’t market to consumers but to other businesses. Lots of companies are ingredient companies, meaning they’re products or services are technologies, ingredients, or components in products sold to consumers. Regardless, if you’ve got customers and other stakeholders like shareholders and employees, your brand is important and you should manage it.

10. Personal branding is a big deal.

I’ll tell you why. For big companies, branding is complex. For small businesses, it’s straightforward. For a single individual, it’s trivial. Be aware that everything you say and do and everything others say about you impacts your reputation. Try your best to manage it. That’s pretty much it. That’s not branding. It’s common sense.

11. Branding is all about advertising.

It never really was, since brand reputation is about the sum of all interaction with the company from all sorts of sources. But these days, old-school advertising has, to some extent, fragmented into product placement, SEO, interactive / online, etc. So branding is even less a strict function of advertising than it was before.

12.  Your Unique Selling Position Is Your Brand

Absolutely not. While your Unique Selling Position might be used to help convey your brand, it is not – in and of itself – your complete branding strategy. Your brand is built, and conveyed, with every action you take, with every product/service you offer, with every piece of communication you send, and with every contact you make with your customers.

13. To Be Remembered, You Must Have A Logo

Also not true. Look at companies like  Puffs (tissue), and Ziploc (plastic bags). They simply use a specialized font with the product name. No swirls, no images, no “logo.” While logos certainly are not “bad,” they are also not mandatory.

Customers Remember You Primarily By How They Are Treated. The most innovative logo, the most attractive colors, and the world’s best logo designer will do you no good if you don’t offer excellent service. Customers remember you and your company by the way they are treated. Was their shopping experience good? Were all their questions answered? Were their problems solved to their satisfaction? These things go way further to help customers remember you than any logo could ever hope to.

14.  Once Your Branding Strategy Is In Place, You Need Do Nothing More

This is probably the biggest myth of them all! So many online businesses are led to believe that once they have an amazing unique selling position, and a snappy logo they have accomplished everything in the realm of branding.

Corporate Identity Myths

Corporate identity is the “persona” of your organization. As part of your brand, corporate identity helps questions like “who are we, what you do, who you sell to and why they buy from?”

Elements of your brand that are often referred to as corporate identity are: corporate title, logo, mascot, etc. Often these elements are governed by approved standards or style guidelines such as color palettes, typefaces, page (print and/or web) layouts and other methods that establish continuity in your visual communications. Guidelines are usually documented in brand, styles, or corporate identity manual(s). Here are some of the myths concerning corporate identity. Often these are not just myths but “bad” practices.

color15. Color selection is not important

It is the belief that color is not important. Any color can be used depending on the occasion. Unless your logo is extremely visually recognized, this is not true. Yes, the Nike “swish” can be in different colors but even that, if over done, can distract from the brand and weaken Nike’s corporate identity.

Buyers buy based on emotional decisions. Some studies show that 65% of an emotion is created by color. Thus, color is a strong bridge that connects brand, corporate identity, marketing, and sales within an organization.

Corporate Identity colors, is one of the most recognizable elements of your corporate identity and creating a strong emotional response on your organization’s behalf. Some well know examples are:

  • Red for Coca-Cola
  • Teal for Tiffany
  • Blue for IBM, nicknamed “Big Blue”
  • Brown for UPS, “What can Brown do for you”
  • Pink for Victoria Secrets

16. I do not need corporate identity

This is so wrong. You do not need to spend “big” money on corporate identity vehicles but they must look professional. In today’s business environment, cash is king. This is especially true for small businesses and “start-ups”. Let us look at the simple but basic corporate identity element – the business card. Good business practice is always keeping costs down but nothing screams more “mom and pop” then an unprofessional business card.

To make matters worst, your web site in may ways has become your business card. It is often the first (and maybe the last) introduction  to your company and its brand. Today’s buyers expect an certain look. Make you’re your website does not say “and I built this myself”.

17. Having a controlled corporate identity will make my business impersonal.

Actually the opposite is true. Having a managed corporate identity makes your organization appear more personal. People build a sense of trust, recognition, and customer loyalty when they see an established “look”.  Just as it is important for you to know your targeted buyers’ persona , buyers know the persona of the company, product, or service (hopefully yours) they recognize and trust. Especially for small companies and start-ups, a strong corporate identity will make your business appear more progressive, help bring you up front in the market, make your company look cleaner, organized and professional.

identity18. Corporate Identity should constantly change to match the changes in the market.

Yes but mostly no. Organizations and their environments are changing continuously. Many business owners and management try to adapt to these changes by changing their strategies and restructure their organization. Their change of strategy often goes hand-in-hand with an attempt to improve/change their corporate image. They believe that changing circumstances requires a different kind of company with different identity attributes. A favorable corporate identity is one of your organization’s most important assets. A changing or multiple corporate identity can create instability; negatively effecting your corporate image, and endangering the realization of strategic strategies. This does not mean not upgrading or refreshing your look, especially your visual material and/or website.

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