Branding | The Brainzooming Group - Part 53 – page 53
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The Business Marketing Association national conference was a tremendous learning opportunity, and not only because of its presentations. A small group of us were afforded the opportunity to live tweet, blog, and video the conference to produce content for the BMA website during the conference. It’s worth taking a look at the posts written by the social media team for overview of the range of content.

In the interim, here are tweets from three of the stand out presentations:

David Meerman Scott

  • amylillard: Old rules – beg, buy, bug for attention. New rule – earn attention by publishing your way in. Power to the people!
  • PaladinStaff: “on the web you are what you publish”
  • BlueSilverInc: Great example of viral video. Happy Birthday Sarbanes Oxley. YouTube: http://tinyurl.com/4xwkeq
  • EvaEKeiser: Be cool in social media… Don’t do anything your mom wouldn’t like.
  • johndigles: :The web, social media isn’t about tech or products, it’s about people. Why fear it? Play fair. “Word of mouse” marketing.
  • simasays: Stock photos = Visual gobbledygook. Those sleek multicultural peeps are so not your customers.
  • BzoomingLive: Learn to get comfortable w/ losing control of ur content. Challenging for marketers! Grateful Dead did it!
  • BzoomingLive: German B2B Marketing Company: CWS – Example frm @dmscott Created World Wide Rave http://bit.ly/11QZoY
  • BzoomingLive: Web very efficient for reaching targeted group – allows you to reach tiny audience, no matter where, if understand them.

Scott Davis

  • glenslens: I’m thinking CMO stands for Chief Masochist Officer…tenure is shorter than some Euro vacations.
  • Brainzooming: “Horizontal POV” – Key for marketers to see across business. Have to have P&L mindset, even if don’t own P&L
  • Brainzooming: If u haven’t had P&L responsibility, then spend 1st 6 months as CMO in the field, making sales calls, ringing cash registers. Scott Davis.
  • Brainzooming “Brand dropping” – Defn: Mentioning the well-known brands that u’ve consulted with in the last month.

Andy Sernovitz

  • amylillard: “Now is the time to build an army of fans who will advertise you for free” @sernovitz
  • Brainzooming: Point at dinner last night – key is to integrate social media activities w/ underlying strategy to drive sales.
  • glenslens: Marketing is what you do, not say, says Andy. Well said. @sernovitz
  • johndigles: :Word-of-Mouth topics are portable, repeatable, emotional. If it works in a news release, it probably won’t be WOM. @sernovitz
  • amylillard: Your customers are not necessarily your talkers. Think about who influences them, and focus there. (Ex – taxi drivers for Wynn)
    glenslens: Advertising is the cost of being boring. (Being remarkable is more than page deep.) @sernovitz
  • tkincolorado: Quite simply, happy customers are your best ads. – @sernovitz
  • amylillard: Final thought @sernovitz – Better companies that are nice to people make more money.


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This originally appeared on the Funny Eye for the Corporate Guy blog and is from an actual photograph of a Holiday Inn that was in the midst of changing its brand affilitation. Somewhere a brand manager should be dying a slow death.

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This Thursday’s guest post is a first in that it was unsolicited, and it introduces an international perspective since its author is from the UK. It’s been cool how many people globally have been following Brainzooming, particularly because of Twitter. Next week’s guest post will originate from Australia.

Relative to the topic, we haven’t spent too much time on Brainzooming discussing branding and specifically how logos fit into marketing efforts. We’ll address some of that gap today with this guest post from Ben Johnson of Logoinn, a custom logo design service provider based in the UK. Here’s Ben’s take on integrating logos into branding efforts:

Branding is an early step in developing a company or product. Naturally, you want potential customers to recognize your brand from among the competition by showing you have something not being offered by anyone else. Yet, among all the introductory activities business leaders face, they may consider logo design a secondary matter. That’s not sound strategic thinking though if you’re trying to mount a successful marketing and branding effort.

For example, think of Nike. The “Swoosh” first comes to mind. What if there were no Swoosh? Would you as quickly recall the perceptions you have associated with the Nike brand? Most likely not.

Hence, before moving ahead with a marketing and branding effort, a well-designed, attractive logo is vital. A strong logo is necessary to directly impact the customers’ minds and convey your brand attitude and benefits to the target market.

Other reasons to place a deliberate emphasis on establishing an innovative, strategic logo design? Doing so:

Gives your brand a unique identity
One of the most important functions of a strong business logo is establishing a brand identity that’s easily recognized and remembered by customers. A person may not remember your business by name alone, so integrating a logo into your identity system makes it easier to create customer recognition of your business at a glance.

Shows stability, reliability, and credibility
If you don’t have a logo or have one that doesn’t accurately portray your business message, it can undermine customer confidence and desire to do business with you. A logo that accurately represents your business, however, contributes to leaving a lasting impression of stability, reliability, and credibility.

Can make your brand a personality
Think again about Nike and the brand impact it would lose without the Swoosh. Would its brand be as strong today if that image weren’t known by customers? Would the name work as well by itself? A unique logo gives a brand personality that can dramatically improve memorability over the long term.

Provides more polish for your brand
Having a logo is important, and having a professionally-designed one is vital. If a logo doesn’t look professional or is not well designed, it will reflect poorly on your business image. Customers may get the impression you don’t care about the way your business presents itself, which might signal you also don’t care about the quality of products or services you provide.

You can start the design process by brainstorming images you want to represent your business, engaging a logo design company for help, and ultimately working through the entire design process. Obviously, developing an appropriate logo takes time and effort, but getting a strategically sound logo in place is a crucial initial investment that will open the door to successful marketing and branding, which should contribute to your company’s long run success. – Ben Johnson

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When Southwest Airlines unveiled a new fare structure along with its return to a number-specific boarding process, it was a potential brand deal breaker for me. For someone who had made great sport of flourishing under the old 3 letter boarding process, I envisioned losing out on my fairly regular #1 general boarding position. This coveted spot was secured through strategic thinking, planning, early arrival, relationship building, stamina, and pure competitive spirit.

Having flown Southwest many times since the modifications, the process change has been great from my perspective. It still favors planning and punctuality, but it’s shifted the strategy to only a few minutes before the check in time 24 hours before the flight, not sitting on the floor for several hours at the airport before departure.

The early arrival, stamina, and relationship building – the most problematic aspects of getting a good seat under the old approach – have all been removed. And having snagged my preferred seating areas even into the lower B group (i.e., 80 people having boarded before me), I don’t mind the competitiveness is pretty much out of the equation as well.

Another bonus has been an upgrade in most Southwest boarding areas, with more comfortable seating and ready access to power outlets. I can only assume that in the Southwest focus on keeping planes flying (and not on the ground), these innovations were to keep people close to the gate and not wandering off to other parts of the concourse. All designed for a higher likelihood of on-time departures.

This is a great example of the emotional connection we have with brands, the apprehension and uncertainty changes to personally important brand dimensions can create for customers, and the ability of re-win customers when creativity leads to a clearly better experience. The Southwest switch was a wonderful case study for how a great brand does this very well.


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In early May, a TweetDeck search on “creative” tweets showed several referencing a Creative unConference in New York. I tweeted to attendees asking for a guest blogger to write about their experience presenting at an event where there’s not really a pre-planned schedule.

Part of it was professional curiosity since I’m chairing the American Marketing Association Market Research Conference in October, and we’ve discussed how to incorporate more attendee-driven content. The other part was a sincere interest in all of us learning more about these types of emerging events.

Stephanie Sharp stepped forward to share her perspective on the event. Stephanie owns Sharp Designs, a graphic design and branding consultancy in New Jersey. She has extensive experience with identity work, marketing collateral, and internal communications. Here’s Stephanie’s view on what it’s like when a social networking perspective intersects with a real life event:

I presented at the Creative unConference in New York City on May 7 – 9. This event was organized by The One Show as part of a week-long creative week. Since this was my first unConference, I wasn’t sure what to expect, so here are three take-aways to help others prepare for attending an unConference:

Prepare for a Richer Experience

The registration process included two questions:

  • What are you going to present?
  • What subjects are you interested in hearing about?

My answer to the first question was : “I AM PRESENTING on the rebranding that has occurred in the last year or so. Some has been seen as a misfire among the design community. Is there a shift in identity work? Have we lost Paul Rand’s way of working? Is it better or worse?”

The unConference guidelines warned speakers to not prepare too much. It’s not like a typical conference with a presentation followed by Q&A with the audience. An unConference is very interactive with a session’s attendees voicing their opinions. A comment from a speaker or a fellow attendee can start a longer discussion on one particular item. As such it’s a much richer experience.

Get Ready to Actively Shape the Agenda

An unConference’s schedule is set each morning, so the exact agenda isn’t known ahead of time. Every attendee is in a large room and allowed to introduce themselves. We grabbed paper and markers and wrote what we wanted to present on sheets and gathered in two lines to announce our session to the crowd.

Alternatively, we could write a subject heading in which we needed help, an issue we were working with, or a topic on which we wanted to hear others’ views. We walked over to a large schedule board and taped our session into a slot for a room and time. As people were adding their sessions, you could also move yours to another time. For any sessions that were similar, presenters could discuss and combine them.

Anticipate but Be Flexible

For my session, I prepared ahead of time by gathering recent logo redesigns causing discussion and controversy within the online design community. These included major brands such as Pepsi, Tropicana, the 2012 Olympics, and Xerox among others. Only a few sessions had access to projectors, so I printed several copies of the logos anticipating I’d be in one of the smaller, intimate areas. Needing visuals for my presentation, this approach provided the most flexibility no matter what the space.

Most everyone in the session held similar ideas on the logos, but we shared some interesting insights with each other. It was more of a discussion than a traditional “presentation,” giving attendees more time to interact and exchange opinions.

Summary

In all, I came away from the Creative unConference with some excellent ideas and knowledge I can implement in my own design and branding consultancy and will definitely keep an eye out for future unConferences. – Stephanie Sharp

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Visiting Panera Bread recently, I noticed employees’ name tags now include the question, “What’s Your Passion?” and the employee’s personal answer.

Love the question, but I’m not sure about this strategic application. It forces an employee to disclose what might be very personal information or fudge, sharing something more generic and not really a passion at all. For instance, the person taking my order, listed “food” as her passion. From the looks of her, that was no surprise. Yet the answer had to be so short and potentially bland to fit on her name tag it really wasn’t the conversation starter I am sure the person who came up with the idea expected it to be.

Here’s a great application of the question though: Answer it for yourself, identifying your own passions. Then make sure you’re:

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Many conversations recently have addressed the misperception that creativity, by definition, takes time, money, and effort that can’t be afforded right now because of the economy. A couple of examples:

  • Someone showed me a meeting announcement for an “ideation” session to which they’d been invited. It referenced the range of ideas under consideration as “creative and practical and everything in between.”
  • A tweet in recent weeks said that while the sender wouldn’t reject innovation, he would “say no to unique creative thinking.”
  • Another forwarded email suggested a group shouldn’t “over think” a topic “out of respect for time & resources. We can do that later when we can be more creative.”

Arghhhhhhh!!!

Since when is practical the opposite of creative? And what types of pre-conceived ideas and misperceptions obscure the role creativity plays in contributing to business results?

The image below of three Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors is another exhibit in showing the fallacy of the “creativity only in selected instances” point of view. Ben & Jerry’s demonstrates the myriad benefits of strategic creativity with ice cream flavor names that:

  • Play on and twist the familiar (to help initial recognition and retention)
  • Are funny (introducing emotion, another element in improved idea stickiness)
  • On brand (completely consistent with something you’d expect from Ben & Jerry’s)

These flavors had to be named something. It probably took little if any additional time to come up with names that clearly work for the brand’s benefit vs. generic names that wouldn’t.

The point isn’t to go out and name everything and call it good. The point is that no matter what the economic environment, being strategic and creative doesn’t decline in importance. It’s MORE important.

Strong branding companies know this and act accordingly, while also-rans wait around for economic signals to suggest it’s time to turn creativity back on. Their challenge is they probably won’t make it until their creativity stop light flashes green again. And maybe that’s just fine!

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Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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