What’s Your Brand?

By Jeff Propper

Your brand is your company’s most valuable possession. As technologies change and competition grows, the one quality that endures is your brand. It lives much longer than any founder or foundry.

So just what is a brand? Is it your label? Your logo? Your tag line?  While each helps deliver your branding message, none alone is your brand. Your brand is the result of constant reinforcement of a distinctive core benefit that your company or product delivers to your customers.

With Allstate, that benefit is protection. As a customer, you know Allstate will take care of you no matter what happens, because “you’re in good hands.” That comforting message has positioned Allstate very nicely against all the can’t-beat-this-price claims in the insurance category. Of course, brands differ from company to company. Yet they all begin the same way.

It’s As Much Analyzing As Advertising.
Branding doesn’t begin with a TV commercial or a new logo. It starts by truly understanding – or carefully determining – what your company’s core values are. This involves some serious corporate introspection. What is your corporate culture? How does the market perceive your company? Does that perception truly reflect the nature of your company? What is it about your company that makes you better or different than the competition? Once you determine your core values, you must distill them into an attainable brand promise. Then you incorporate that message not merely into advertising, but into everything from taglines to T-shirts, sales brochures to seminars.  The Body Shop is a great practitioner of branding. Its core value is social involvement. The company contributes to rain forest preservation, takes an active role in women’s issues, and markets children’s products with informative storybooks about endangered species. You don’t need to see an ad for The Body Shop to know that. Just walk into any of its stores. You’ll be greeted by a salesperson wearing a T-shirt with The Body Shop logo and a social message. You know right away this is a company with a social conscience.

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