Developing Your Brand? Why Spend Time & Money?

Excerpted by Joel Alpert from “Brands And Branding”

Bloomberg Press

Quotes from Author/Compiler Rita Clifton

A leading practitioner and commentator on branding.

CEO/Chairman of Interbrand, a global brand consultancy


“Brands are conceptually tricky. In the words of Jeremy Bullmore of WPP, they are “fiendishly complicated, elusive, slippery, half-real/half virtual things. When CEOs try to think about brands, their brains hurt.”


“Part of the confusion comes from the fact that the word “brand,” as a noun, is used in at least three separate but interrelated senses:

o   “Which brand did you buy?”— a brand is a named product or service.

o   “Which brand shall we use for this new product?” — brands are trade marks.

o   “How will this strengthen or weaken our brand?” — brand refers to customers’ and others’ expectations about products or services sold under a specific trade mark or about the company which provides them.”


‘The clarity of focus that a strong brand positioning gives organizations will always create more effectiveness, efficiency and competitive advantage across all operations; and from a pragmatic financial perspective, research among investment communities confirms that clarity of strategy is one of the first criteria for judging companies.”


“To distinguish itself effectively and efficiently from other organizations, it is helpful to have some kind of shorthand: visual or verbal symbols…”


“…these elements will engage and inspire people, externally and internally, to the advantage of the organization.”


“Creativity and imagination are crucial to the success of a brand. It is the easiest thing to in the world for people to approach new naming, product development, design and advertising ideas with an open mouth and a closed mind.”


“The intangible element of the combined market capitalization of the S&P 500 has increased to around 80%, compared with se 30% 20 years ago, and is likely to grow even further as tangible distinctions between businesses become less sustainable. The brand element of that combined market value amounts to around one-third of the total, which confirms the brand as the most important single corporate asset.”


“As one chief executive noted, those who move from the (basic) traditional idea that the brand is about advertising and marketing to using the brand as an organizing idea in their corporate strategy, to touch and inform everything they and their people make, do and say, may find that they ‘have made more progress as business then we achieved in the previous ten years.’ ”


“Warren Buffet, the world’s most famous (and least sentimental) investor told a group of investors that brand is the most important factor in deciding where to invest.”


“Strong brands mean more return, for less risk.”


“If branding is treated as a cosmetic exercise only, and regarded as merely a new name/logo, stationery and possibly a new advertising campaign, it will have only a superficial effect at best….Reputation is, after all, reality with a lag effect. Branding needs to start with a clear point of view on what an organization should be about and how it will deliver sustainable competitive advantage; then it is about organizing all product, service, and corporate operations to deliver that.”


“If the brand is the most important organizational asset, it makes rational sense for it to be a central management preoccupation. Business strategy is, or should be, brand strategy, and vice versa.”


The Bottom Line from Joel

Brand Strategy includes perceptions and reality.

Do a great job on both!



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Joel Alpert is a branding and marketing specialist who uses a proprietary strategic consulting and branding process which gets at the essence of your brand strategy quickly and definitively (developed by Robert Fritz, Inc.). He’s developed effective, award-winning marketing communication programs for large and small companies and agencies across the country. Connect with him on LinkedIn. He also has developed practical workshops and consulting on branding, and making your LinkedIn profile effective. 



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