Over the past two days, I enjoyed reading pieces that covered both sides of the branding* debate (See definition of the term, “branding”, below). This is because they represent facets of the conversations I hear within organizations of all stripes that are reflecting on their marketing needs. These points of view can be used as data points to consider when determining how much time and money to put into the branding effort of any operation.
The main question:
Is branding worth the investment?
Should we invest in a professional branding agency or build on our own brand?
How much time, energy, and effort is this exercise worth?
How about a brand “refresh” instead of “re-branding”?
How can we measure the results of this investment?
Read on and enjoy, along with more and more of us, following the branding debate as it unfolds over time.
1. Apparently Apple is focusing less on its brand and more on the quality of its product (this is typical of high tech products in America, but also applies to consumer products in other countries, like Japan where new product development receives a greater proportion of investment dollars than traditional branding efforts). Read this recent piece in the Harvard Business Review
2. This piece covers the example of a global company that did not test its logo, only to realize that the imagery it used reminded British consumers of a popular underwear brand. (A quick $15 survey could have prevented this.) New York Times recommending brand research to avoid unintentional (if not funny) consequences.
* (Simple definition of the term “Branding”)
Since “branding,” like many marketing teams, is one that can be used in many ways, here I am defining it as that element of the overall marketing approach that addresses the identity of the organization, in terms of words and images (literal and figurative) associated with that organization, and how these are communicated to others. It is typically tied to the overall marketing plan because it is the result of a deep understanding of the company itself, its target customers, and how it distinguishes itself from other players in the marketplace. As is true of every element of the marketing plan, it is reflective of the entire marketing strategy. For those who are in interested in how branding extends throughout the entire marketing plan, read this piece in the Harvard Business Review.