The Two Laws of Branding From the Inside Out

Posted on March 20, 2010

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This articles discusses how to resolve branding problems that leave one struggling to define what differentiates their brand.The author proposes two noteworthy laws of what is termed organic branding;  

  1. A great brand must start with a great company that offers great products and services. A company’s products and services and the way the company delivers those services are more important than the brand and how that brand is marketed. Do not confuse the brand and the product.
  2. Customers must have a connection to a company, its products, or its services before they can make a connection to the brand. Before there was a great brand there was a great company that provided great products or services. The branding came later.

Look at just some of the great brands: Apple, GoogleHonda, Wal-MartStarbucks. There’s a reason why people love those brands, and it has little to do with branding. Google is the most popular search engine despite almost no efforts by the company to build its brand. The extent of Google’s overt branding efforts is the logo on its home page. Google didn’t worry about branding; it worried about creating a product that was superior to its competitors’ and provided a greater benefit to its customers. Google put its energy into refining its algorithms to produce the most-relevant search results. In the same way, people fell in love with Starbucks’ tasty lattes, Honda’s dependable cars, Apple’s simplicity (its design and ease of use), and Wal-Mart’s low prices.

Further support for the “product first, brand second” argument is that brand loyalty can be so fleeting. The automobile industry is an example: Its brand loyalty is at an all-time low. that’s because more companies than ever before are making high-quality cars, and buyers are flocking to quality, not brands. Hyundai’s recent success demonstrates the tendency for customers to flock to quality over brands. In less than a decade, Hyundai went from having no status to Top 10 status. And it had nothing to do with branding. It’s because Hyundai used to make lousy cars that fell apart, and now it makes cars that win awards for quality at prices lower than its competitors’.

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