Tag Archives: brands and branding

ON WRITING WELL

Good writing is not a natural gift.  I believe it is an acquired talent.  One thing is certain:  good writers go far in their career and higher in life.  Here are five hints I learned about writing from reading.

 

On Writing Well


LUXURY BRAND MANAGEMENT

Marketing luxury is a paradox.  Luxury defies econometric models.  Though the processes by which consumers acquire and consume luxury remain an enigma, luxury brand names and products are highly visible in the marketplace.

I became interested in branding luxury back in 2007 when I used to frequent Dubai (UAE).  It was then I acquainted with research work pursued by Bernard Dubois, Thomas Stanley, Claire Paternault and others.  I even designed a workshop for corporate clients in Middle East and Europe interested in luxury retailing.  I taught an MBA level course on Luxury Branding at my favorite business school in India, MICA, in 2008-’09.

Recently, I promised Hult MBAs at San Francisco that I shall provide them my insights on luxury branding in my BE class.  Though a little late, I am living up to my promise.  This slide deck empirically explores the luxury sector, the status of international luxury brands, and how luxury is branded and sold to consumers.


WHAT IS BRANDING?

THE POWER OF brands is undeniable. The moment we decide to buy soda, we know what brand of soda we’d purchase even before we leave our apartments to the corner store. Brands create unmatched loyalty and boundless profits for corporations. What’s it about brands that transforms people’s emotions and behavior? Why should a pair of jeans from True Religion inspire such an emotional response and commitment. Why should MBAs who graduate from Thunderbird or bikers who ride a Harley ink the logo of the brand to claim membership to an exclusive clique?

In 2007, I embarked on a journey to find out the answer(s) how brands create devotion strictly from the consumer’s perceptive. My journey took me to ashrams in India, secret consumer tribe conventions, Sturgis and Daytona motorcycle rallies, Apple stores, tattoo parlors across the length and breadth of the US, and many other exciting places. I am still collecting valuable data with plans of publishing my findings. This keynote presentation uses four iconic brands: Coca-Cola, Apple, Thunderbird, and Motorhead. I hope this set of slides helps unlock some of the secrets of how brands build emotional connections, and why branding is important.


WHAT IS BRANDING?

The power of brands is undeniable. The moment we decide to buy soda, we know what brand of soda we’d purchase even before we leave our apartments to the corner store. Brands create unmatched loyalty and boundless profits for corporations. What’s it about brands that transforms people’s emotions and behavior? Why should a pair of jeans from True Religion inspire such an emotional response and commitment. Why should MBAs who graduate from Thunderbird or bikers who ride a Harley ink the logo of the brand to claim membership to an exclusive clique?

In 2007, I embarked on a journey to find out the answer(s) how brands create devotion strictly from the consumer’s perceptive. My journey took me to ashrams in India, secret consumer tribe conventions, Sturgis and Daytona motorcycle rallies, Apple stores, tattoo parlors across the length and breadth of the US, and many other exciting places. I am still collecting valuable data with plans of publishing my findings. This keynote presentation uses four iconic brands: Coca-Cola, Apple, Thunderbird, and Motorhead. I hope this set of slides helps unlock some of the secrets of how brands build emotional connections, and why branding is important.


DISPELLING BRAND MYTHS

Business today face shortage of customers, not shortage of goods. This is not a new problem; we faced a similar snag in the 1930s. When businesses project sales growth more than what the total market is growing, it results in excess capacity. Branding is the only answer at such times of overcapacity and hyper competition. Despite the recognition that brand equity is the single most valuable asset that translates into higher sales volume and higher profit margins, I observe that branding is still a vastly misunderstood subject. It’s about time to dispel the myths about brands and branding, and know what it really means:

1. Branding is not marketing.

Ted Levitt once said, “the aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous.” The aim of branding is to make marketing superfluous. Branding starts even before a product exists or a customer is won. Branding is the very beginning; selling is the ending. Branding is a promise, a solemn pledge derived from the heart of a robust, workable business strategy.

2. Branding is not advertising.

Advertising is a paid form of communicating value delivered through media outlets by an identified sponsor. Unlike advertising, branding is not a mere interruption of culture; it is the very cultural infrastructure upon which a business is built. Branding the face of a business strategy that dictates how value of a product or service should be communicated in the consumer ecosystem.

Advertising does not build brands.  Advertising only calls attention to a brand. But, brands are built holistically.  Brand building is an orchestration of a variety of tools from myriad disciplines used to systematically plan, implement, and control the alignment of identity, image, and culture.

3. Branding does not help production and operations.

Instead, manufacturing should help in branding. Production is granted. Business can outsource manufacturing very easily, but it can never outsource branding or marketing. We live in a consumption economy, and everyone in the firm should be concerned about the decisions made which will impact the customer.

4. Branding is difficult to learn.

It barely takes a day to learn – ask my MBA students. Perhaps, it takes a lifetime to master. Branding has been around for centuries as a means to mark cattle and distinguish them by the owners of livestock. Branding will be around forever as long as man has mind, emotion, and memory. It just may not be the same way you learned it.