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The two most important brand development misunderstandings

by on August 12, 2012 in Best advertising story, Latest News, Lead story, London & South East, Marketing, Media, Retail, Small Business, Startups

The brand is the single most important element in marketing.

Surprisingly it is the most misunderstood. In my view the brand is the focal point of all marketing so it should be the starting point for all activity but done of course with a starting point of customers attitudes.

Misunderstanding 1 : Confusion between product and brand

The first misunderstanding is the confusion between product and brand: Products are developed to fulfil consumers’ needs we develop the brand to create desire and develop a relationship.

Put another way… if products are just people then brands are friends.

Misunderstanding 2 : Defining brands by the way they are designed

The second error is that brands are simply defined by the way they are designed. Brand Guidelines are inadequate if they only set logo, typefaces, colours and graphics in a two-dimensional way because brands should be seen as three dimensional and then defined in a broad context with an emphasis of the emotional aspects.

The look and feel should be captured and developed for all media and activity and then put in a best practice manual which should be an actively used tool.

Of course the logo is important. We know that is can be seen as a symbol of authority and allegiance (Man learnt to recognise pictures way before we learnt to write) so develop both a symbol and a wordmark, ideally with a memorable and available URL.

Underpin the brand

Then as marketers we need to underpin the brand. Many refer to this as a ‘strap line’ but it has more significance than this implies. This will position the brand so it should contain two strands, function and performance… what the brand does and how well it does it. Of course positioning goes further; at its most basic there are three easily recognisable brand positionings. Each one indicates where the product offering will sit in the market place and how it appeals to which customer group.

Quite simply they are…

The best No1 | We try harder- On your side |The lowest price or best value

Just look at a market and you will easily recognise these positionings, for example consider Airlines or Car Hire. In practice there are increasing levels of sophistication for positioning and in major developed markets sophisticated research process will be needed.

We aim to use our experience and judgement to inform this process by developing ‘brand concepts’ at the outset then using both research and creative resources to hone them to a final brand and then go on to flesh out the brand itself together with developing advertising and message concepts too.

At this point often new product opportunities are revealed even alternative brand positionings.

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