There’s a consultancy in my part of the world which is making a lot of noise about branding – their premise is that all businesses should act like brands in order to improve their chances of success.
I’ve been to one of their events which told me I am Coca Cola (if I think of my business as a brand).
I was hoping for some clear principles of brand-building to be shared. But I actually became more confused and left disappointed.
First of all, it strikes me that it is unhelpful to use existing brands as examples. We fall into the trap of retrospective coherence or hindsight bias. We choose familiar brands as exemplars but we still can’t really explain why Coca Cola is bigger than Pepsi. We start from success and work backwards – never the same as starting at the beginning and working forwards through all the wrong turns, the mistakes, the accidents, the responses to exernal factors.
We seem to think that brand building is all one-way, deliberate and planned, and that consumers of brands are just that, consumers rather than collaborators.
Branding to me is about being clear what you stand for, ensuring every part of your organisation is aligned with that, and reflecting it consistently in actions and words. The perception and the reality should be identical. Create value for others and others will create value for you by co-creating your brand.