Monday, March 1, 2010

The Power of Branding

On my way home tonight, I saw a McDonald’s sign sticking up over the roofs of some office buildings. It was one of those with the golden arches, but no name. Even though I couldn’t see the restaurant, and it didn’t say “McDonald’s,” I knew it was Mickie D’s right away. And I immediately thought of french fries. Such is the power of branding.

If I asked you which company was brown, most all of you would say UPS. And all I mentioned was a color. Amazing. If I showed you a peacock, you’d know immediately it was NBC. Even without those three little letters. If I hummed a quick “bum-bum-bum-bum” (which is rather hard to do on a blog), trust me, you’d know it was Intell.

How many more brands do you know by a color? A sound? A single letter? A stylized mark? These companies don’t even have to say their name … yet you know who they are. You know what they sell. You know what they stand for.

Now, when I say “25% off!” … who do you think of? Exactly. Nobody owns it. And it will never build your brand. Getting people in your door is part of building a business and paying the bills. We understand that. But long-term, if you don’t have any branding, the next guy who shouts “25% off!” will run off with your customers, because they won’t know the difference.*

*Any similarity to current client direction is purely coincidental. Really.

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