Brand is not a destination

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

21 July 2010

Brand is not a destination

Whenever I read a story about a company being “rebranded,” I always get the feeling that something was left undone. There’s something about the term “rebranded” that seems so final. It is as though the marketing executive has a check list of things he or she is supposed to do and the action item of “branding” can now be checked off.

Brand is not an end point. If it is an end, then you have not developed a true brand. Rather, you have created a new visual identity or some other creative execution. Brand is a living thing that is always being woven into the cultural fabric of an organization.

It should be adaptable to market opportunities, yet strong enough to stand the rigors of time including product failures and changing market conditions. And because the most meaningful brands are derived from the reflection of who the prospect believes is, there should be a singular focus on what is important: your existing and potential customers.

Ends are final. “Rebranded” feels final to me and brand, when done right, is evolutionary.

The best brands of the world understand this: Apple, Nike, Disney, and Coke all understand that their brands evolve as markets change, moving with the ebb and flow of consumer tastes and desires, modifying and creating new products to meet new needs and wants yet each has remained true to their core brand promises.

This is partly why these companies have been so successful. Their brands have directed them in all facets of their businesses, from HR to finance to sales and marketing. They look at new opportunities in the market and ask if it is “on brand” long before they open up a P&L statement or ROI analysis. If something does not fit with their brand, they do not do it.

So marketers, if you are talking to companies that are telling you that you need to “rebrand,” think carefully about what they are really telling you. Are they taking you to a destination or are they setting your organization on a journey?

See more posts in the following related categories: Advertising Apple Branding Nike

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