Branding – What Exactly Should it Accomplish?
Part 1 – The Goals Branding is essentially no more than establishing an automatic recognition of your brand name and a positive identification of that brand with a particular product or service. The stronger and more widespread that recognition and association is, the more effective your marketing efforts can be. The effect has been achieved when a person immediately thinks of your brand whenever someone mentions [your offering], or conversely, when [your offering] is mentioned, they think of your brand before any other.
There are virtually unlimited means by which to accomplish this, but all involve repetitive exposure to your brand and its offering.
Of course, not all branding is positive. Repetitive associations of a negative nature can cause a sort of branding that no business or individual should desire. There are many individuals that have enjoyed a certain type of negative branding that would be nearly impossible to overcome. Charlie Sheen, Tom Cruise, O.J. Simpson and Osama bin Laden have all experienced some negative branding that has had negative impacts. But we don’t want to go there.
Let’s concentrate on some examples of positive branding that has been beneficial for the targets. Just a few examples of brands that most of us associate with a particular product:
- Xerox – copier machines
- Crest – toothpaste
- Ford – automobiles
- Pepsodent – toothpaste
- IBM – computers
Fairly obvious, right? Name recognition is immediate, for these brand names. But for instance, Crest is readily associated by most Americans with toothpaste, but not nearly as many would associate it with the company name, Proctor & Gamble. In that instance, since P&G has so many products in its portfolio, the specific branding of the toothpaste’s specific brand was ultimately more effective.
Pepsodent, on the other hand, while failing to hold a large market share after the 1960s, undertook a brilliant branding campaign, which included such things as:
- the jingle, “You’ll wonder where the yellow went / when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent!”
- a radio program entitled The Pepsodent Show Starring Bob Hope
- a huge neon ad, featuring a young girl on a swing, in Times Square
Their advertising campaign was so successful at becoming a part of Americana, that their brand and slogan were incorporated into works by Rogers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter and Mad Magazine. Even those too young to have been around in Pepsodent’s heyday are still exposed to this lasting branding success.
Minnie Pearl’s hat with the price tag still in place and her iconic “Howdeeeeeee!” were other types of branding, as were Jack Benny’s deadpan side-glance, Ed Sullivan’s arm gestures and “… really big shoo” and Dean Martin’s (sometimes feigned) drunkenness.
Choosing your Path
Each and every one of these companies and individuals managed to sufficiently impress the public with some unique aspect of their presentation to become essentially synonymous with that aspect. By repetition of a memorable, attention-grabbing detail, they gradually infiltrated the culture to an extent that they were widely associated with it.
Such a detail can just as easily be a refreshing approach to customer service, such as some extraordinary examples that be seen on mental_floss. It could also be the lifetime guarantee offered by Snap-On Tools, the same-day delivery push by Amazon that is currently underway or simply an innovative USP (unique selling proposition) such as that offered by Burger King (Have it your way) or Domino Pizza (“…hot, fresh pizza in 30 minutes or less or it’s free.“).
All are obviously marketing techniques, but isn’t that exactly what you’re doing with a branding campaign – marketing your brand’s fit for a particular niche? In Part 2 of the branding series, we’ll take a look at some of today’s most effective avenues for branding and the techniques for maximizing the results.