October 16, 2009

The Brand Formula

Filed under: Brands,Uncategorized — trtoronto @ 4:31 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Its amazing how many people think Nike’s Swish  which is its visual identity is a brand.

So lets discuss what makes a Brand. A brand  is the  product of two things:

[Prediction of what to expect] times [emotional power of that expectation].

If I encounter a brand and I don’t know what it means or does, it has zero power over me. If I have an expectation of what an organization will do for me, but I don’t care about that, no power again.

AT&T is a weak and wobbly  brand because you almost never get what you expect, because they do so many different things and because the value of what they create has little emotional resonance (It was a much more powerful brandwhen they did one thing, they did it perfectly and they were the only ones who could connect you).

The dangers of brand ubiquity are then obvious. When your brand is lots of things (like AOL became) then the expectations will be  all over the place and the emotional resonance starts  to fade. If the predictability of your brand starts to erode its emotional power (a restaurant that becomes boring) then you need to become predictable in your joyous unpredictability!

If you want to grow a substantial and valuable brand, my advice is to keep awareness close to zero among the people that you cannot serve or are  not ready for. Build your brand among those who care about your values, service and who value the experience that your brand brings. In other words make sure your brand delivers the emotional experience that your customer wants.

Think of Fedex. Fedex is a powerful brand because you always get what you expect, and the relief you get from their consistency is high. A truly great brand.


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