Actually, branding is far more than most people think it is. I say this because what Iíve heard in the last few years regarding what branding is has been way off the mark.
Branding is indeed for everyone in the organization, even for the scientists. You see, branding is not just logos, PR, events, and all other extrinsic properties; it includes a set of values by which the company lives. When I say company, I mean its people. Branding is developing a culture where everyone must be on board and truly know the business that theyíre in, why, and how will they use this knowledge to first and foremost, with each other internally and then taking this culture externally to their paying customers. There needs to be an infectious enthusiasm about the place and what they do, at every touch point; be it in person, by paper, website, telephone, advertising, PR, events, down to what their stationery bears.
Branding is more than meets the eye. In fact a lot of it doesnít; itís the soft stuff that does; the intangibles, so to speak. Branding needs to live throughout the organization in order to have a chance at succeeding. By the way, branding is not a program or project, it should be a living organism that filters from top down and back up again. A continuum.
This is when you know everyone lives it. Starbucks, Harley Davidson, FedEx, Virgin, Microsoft, UPS, Nike, Disney, etc. These are strong brands and they are winners at it.
Branding, therefore, should be an inherent part of any action a company endeavors to undertake because, again, itís not something you turn on and off. Most companies do just that, because, one: they donít understand the full scope and meaning of branding and/or two: they donít appreciate it and therefore put little or no money toward it. This is why the majority of companies fail at branding and at their businesses, for that matter.
Branding is a culture and needs to drive, in many ways, everything a company plans and does. Itís certainly not something that should be left to the end. This is not branding; this is an advertising initiative or PR or event-like standalone tactic. By the way, branding does include all of that, too. Iíll take the liberty of assuming that a significant number of readers here drink bottled water. Why? Because, and this has been tested and confirmed many times over, you think itís better, purer, cleaner, etc. when compared to natural tap water, assuming you don't live in a contaminated area. Well, apparently, itís not. Studies show itís the brand that drives consumer behavior, here. Itís the advertising, the brand label, the claim or promise the brand makes, etc. that pschycologically affects the purchaser to buy it.
Would you just as easily buy a no-name pill to alleviate your headache or would you just buy Advil or Tylenol because it sits right with you and you know that itís effectively worked for everyone you know and millions of others and that's the comfort zone you need? But even these brands had to start somewhere and branding, believe it or not, had much to do with it.
In closing, especially when a product is an emotional one such as a mortgage with a bank, education for your child, a car, or in this case, one that could affect your life, I think most people would opt for the brand vs. the no name because the brand puts money where its mouth is and builds equity in the process whereby people come to trust it. Branding!