Monday, October 26, 2015

The Holy Grail of Brand Management – Got an Idea?





I often run into conversations like this:

“I have explored all branding tools namely PR, Creatives, Blogs, Newsletters, Social Media, but somehow my brand is not taking off.  Can you give me an idea/ a strategy which can make my brand skyrocket?”

Well….. Yes, of course, we can. But hold your horses…..

We would like to treat the malady rather than the symptoms, as the famous Dr. House often repeated to his brilliant bunch of physicians.

The malady lies deeper.

You are obviously misreading your objectives to trend with the current times. It’s like painting zebra stripes to appear cool, but you end up losing your identity.

You are not a Zebra, you are a Horse, so why pose like a Zebra? Blaze your own trail folks!

Go back to your objectives- What are you offering? Why? To Whom? How will it make their lives better? Why should they care? Do they care? Do you know who you are speaking to? Really know them? Are you tying in your objectives with what appears to be trending nowadays?

If you don’t, you risk getting your customers falling off your saddle.

The most important thing you need is ‘Positioning’. Are you positioning yourself right? Have you positioned yourself in a manner which is clear, concise, creative and impactful?

Is your ‘right’ positioning being communicated through the so-called tools?

Positioning looks deceptively simple, it is anything but. You may think that if you can run a company, you can very well position it too. You cannot be more wrong. Even your mentors cannot tell you how to position yourself.

Positioning needs a careful analysis of a huge number of occurrences across your entire eco-system. It answers a lot of questions and solves brand challenges. Deducing the right positioning is not everyone’s cup of tea. It needs to be done well.

And it needs to be implemented well. You need to revisit your positioning at least once in six months, to keep yourself relevant. Rinse and Repeat.

You don’t need an idea or a strategy, instead you need to revisit your entire spectrum of brand communication.

One of my pet peeves is that most people are confused between ‘advertising’ and ‘branding’.
An Idea is what an advertiser will give you, maybe an ad, maybe a campaign, which will run and get over. Good for you if it sticks, but that happens rarely. Advertising happens in a microcosm. They are usually advertising a product or service. They are not advertising your company or its long term objectives or what you are essentially in the market for.

Ideas or ad-lines or jingles do not make a brand. A brand gets made over many years, through many efforts. Branding will help you find your inner strengths and leverage them. It is way less cool or glamorous than advertising. It is backbreaking work at a snail’s pace. But it hits the home run, every time.

However if you are in a hurry, the Gurus of advertising are very capable of offering you the Holy Grail, and take it with them when they leave. They will paint stripes on you. Hell, you will even start feeling and strutting around like a Zebra.


And then one day the truth will trot home. Hopefully, it will not be too late by then.

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