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"Branding" -- the kind practiced by marketing departments
rather than cowboys -- has long been a staple of consumer advertising efforts.
Any among in the folds of our brains: Tide, Coke, Ford, Disney, Alka-Seltzer
and Kleenex among scores of others.
Branding, however, has been largely misunderstood or misapplied by all but a handful of business-to-business, high-tech and industrial advertisers. For one thing, it's hard to define.
Advertising legend Leo Burnett, creator of brand images like the Marlboro man and the Jolly Green Giant, defined brand as "the mystery of what a product or service does that excites people and compels them to choose it over any other." Rival luminary David Ogilvy said it a little more succinctly: brand is "the unique quality of some product or service that makes a compelling difference for the buyer."
Now, a compelling difference for the buyer sounds like something worth having whether you're selling bagels or building materials, but here are the four primary functions of a branding program as supplied by Chuck Pettis, author of TechnoBrands.
Having a strong brand name engenders a great deal of loyalty and repeat business, lets you charge top dollar for your products and makes it dramatically easier for you to bring new products to market. But achieving a strong brand name is not quick, easy or cheap.
One of the most remarkable high-profile branding efforts ever undertaken by a technology company was the "Intel Inside" campaign of the early 90s. Most marketers now agree that it certainly achieved the goals of branding as Chuck Pettis describes them, but it was a huge multimedia effort involving millions of dollars and using media like television and outdoor not commonly associated with component manufacturers.
If you have the money, the tenacity and the chutzpah to commit to a branding effort, here are a few points on the topic to keep in mind.
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