A discussion and some thoughts about brands, prompted by a tweet from Everard Hunder:

“What happens if there is no such thing as a brand strategy?

Maybe brand is an outcome of business strategy and performance, not a strategy in itself?”

Paul Bailey retweeted with the comment:

“Is brand an output rather than input?”

I replied:

Peter Fisk wrote “Everything that the customer experiences, hard and soft, real and perceived, is part of the brand.”

The customer’s perception of the brand is what counts. That may or may not match marketer’s brand aspirations.”

Paul Bailey replied:

“This is why I say brand must be about shared meaning – what people agree on.”

I replied:

“Shared meaning makes sense. But if there is a disconnect between promoted brand image and what customers’ actually experience/believe, customers’ perception prevails over the marketer’s delusion.”

Reflecting on this conversation I have some additional thoughts.

  • strong positive brand – marketer and customers are in alignment on shared meaning (Apple)
  • strong negative brand – consensus is negative (Enron)
  • weak brand – fragmented meaning or unknown in the market, i.e. meaningless brand.

I was also thinking of brands in the context of complex systems.

A business is a complex subsystem with the complex system of the market. Various components of the business affect the brand perception, such as product design, manufacturing or service quality, advertising messages. Within the market, there are competitors with their own product designs, manufacturing quality, and advertising messages. Also within the market, what customers experience and believe is what really counts. These systems are dynamic and interactive. The brand is an emergent property of this complexity.

Paul Bailey posted a slide deck titled Rethink brand: an audience-centred view on shaping a brand through Associated Memorable Moments™.

I replied:

“Great presentation. My only quibble is ‘a brand is a work in progress. We mistakenly think it is finished.’ I’d say evolving rather than WIP. An analogy: I won’t pay $30K for a WIP Honda, but I’m happy that Honda designs and technology evolve with the times.”

Highlights from the slide deck:

Paul Bailey, Strategy Director, Halo

“Your brand isn’t what you say it is — it’s what people agree it is.”

“A brand is, in part, shaped by the experience of your audience.”

“Associated Memorable Moments™. A brand is shaped through a series of moments which people remember and associate with one another.”

“Brand codes or distinctive brand assets. Distinctive, ownable, protected.”

“Attention, not information, is today’s limiting factor.”

“Appeal more to the heart than to the head.”

“Maximize your mental availability.”

“Creativity is your super power in an attention economy.”

“Maximize your physical (and digital) availability.”

“Motivation + Ability + Prompt = Behavior (The Fogg Behavior Model)”

“Moments allow for an emergent strategy for your brand.”

“Associated Memorable Moments™ can be grand or simple, planned or spontaneous.”

“‘The biggest brand challenge is not sales or loyalty or conversion. It’s being noticed. Repeatedly noticed. Constantly coming to mind.’ — Mark Ritson”

“Creative moments that keep the brand alive.”

“Have a voice, make an impact, and be memorable.”

“Make it easy for people to associate every moment with you.”

“Ensure your brand means something to people.”


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