Welcome to the first installment of “Barry on Brand & Business!” Below is a transcript of the video which you can watch here.
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Hello and welcome to Barry on Brand & Business.
I’m going to kick things off by talking about what Brand is. Now, a lot of people and companies are a little unsettled about what Brand is because it’s kind of a vague term. Everyone knows they need to be working on it but still, that begs the question…what is Brand?
Some folks think that Brand is the product or service, still, others think it’s the marketing, and some people think it’s the logo or the visual representation of the company. In truth, those are all part of the Brand but not the Brand itself.
Why? Because the Brand .is the sum total of everything a company does and how the world perceives it. Now, you might be thinking, “Wait a second, that doesn’t clear anything up. The sum total of everything a company does and how the world perceives it?!” Not a problem, I’ve got an example for you.
Take a jogger. She’s in the market for a new pair of running shoes. She’s not an elite athlete, she’s just an avid runner like you or I. So, she does what we all do. Go online, check out reviews. Talk to her friends who are also runners to get their input. And then finally makes the decision to buy some Nike running shoes.
Now that may sound like a rational, logical choice. Except, it isn’t. Research has proved that we all make decisions based on emotion. Now, I don’t have access to Nike’s Brand documentation, but if we look at everything they’ve done over the past few decades all of it seems to tie back to this concept of inspiring you to be a better version of yourself. So, while our jogger is literally buying a pair of Nike running shoes, that’s not all she’s buying. She’s also buying aspiration and alignment with the Nike Brand.
Does our jogger think she’s going to become an elite athlete by buying these shoes? No, but she probably does feel like she’s going to be a better version of herself. Now, Nike has teed this up by consistently applying their Brand to everything they do. And her perception of the Nike Brand is what’s helping influence this purchase decision. That’s Brand.
But Brand isn’t just about marketing. Brand influences Operations, Customer Service, Product, Features…everything.
And, here’s the thing, if you’re in business, congratulations, you have a Brand. Now you might be thinking, “Wait a second, we have done any Brand work!” Doesn’t matter, just by your existence you have a Brand.
So, how does a Brand get established and shaped? Well, ideally, the company works on that. I’ll talk about different kinds of Brands and how they get established and shaped.in an upcoming episode.
But for now, I want to emphasize why it is important to be working on Brand. Remember how I said by your mere existence in the world, you have a Brand? Well if you’re not working on shaping it other forces are. Forces like internal employees, competitors, industry news, even world events, all can influence how your Brand is perceived.
Let’s take a look at two examples. One where internal forces influenced the Brand and the perception of the Brand. And one where external forces attempted to influence the perception of the Brand.
Our first example is Uber. By 2017, they were running the tables on the ridesharing market. They dominated. In fact, they were doing so well that it started to become the generic term for ridesharing.
SIDE NOTE: Being the generic for a category is not good for Brand. A lot of people seem to think that they’ve won something or that they own the space if that happens. But the reality is far different. Take, for example, Uber. If someone says “Let’s get an Uber” and they pull up Lyft’s app, guess who is getting the revenue? Lyft, off Uber’s Brand equity something they spent time and money to build. Worse than that, is the fact that trademark enforcement gets jeopardized. And that is bad because then anybody can use your name for whatever product they’re putting out.
Companies like Clorox, Kleenex, Post-it notes, Xerox, Jet Ski, BubbleWrap, and Jacuzzi, and more all had to fight back after becoming generics for their category. The bottom line is unless you can actually own a market as Google does with search, becoming the generic for a category is just a bad idea all around.
But then we started to hear stories about the CEO and his bad behavior and about the ruthless culture that he instilled at the company. Then we started to hear stories about literal crimes committed by drivers for Uber. It was a bad situation made worse. All of this served to shape the Uber Brand in a negative way. This shift in perception actually allowed Lyft to gain market share on Uber. It’s a prime example of how internal forces can shape a Brand.
Next up, let’s look at external factors. We need look no further than Blockbuster and Netflix. Blockbuster had been knocked back on its heels by the success of Netflix. So they launched a program called Total Access. And it was a screaming deal for consumers. You could exchange movies in-store and through the mail — both. And when they launched Total Access, they also launched a TV campaign trying to paint Netflix as the “wait by the mailbox” company.
Blockbuster’s attempt to shape the Netflix brand — “Netflix is the ‘Wait By The Mailbox Company’
This is a prime example of a competitor trying to shape a Brand. The thing is, at Netflix, we understood our Brand and how to apply it. So rather than watch Blockbuster re-shape our Brand, we were able to flip their concept on its head and still tie back to our Brand position by launching this campaign.
The response campaign by Netflix that effectively squashed Blockbuster’s efforts at re-shaping the Netflix brand.
The bottom line is, Brand is real. It exists whether you work on it or not. So you might as well get cracking because if you don’t shape your Brand something else will.
Ok, so next time I’ll be chatting about the value of Brand from an employee perspective and a customer perspective. So be sure to check that out. If you haven’t done so already, go to ConsultBWE.com and enter your email address to be notified when new videos are posted.
See you next time.
I am a Brand and marketing consultant whose experience includes 11 years scaling Netflix from a small startup to an international brand. As well as helping numerous companies discover, establish, and apply their brands in addition to channel strategy all the way through execution.
Below are just some of the articles I’ve written previously on Brand and business: