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Brand Warfare

This book was a quick read, somewhat interesting - and included the following 10 "rules" for building a killer brand...

Note: There is a company called Interbrand that ranks all brands as a % of their market cap.

There is *nothing* a brand can't be held responsible for...

1. It's the brand, stupid

  • People buy brands they like - it's that simple.
  • The customer rules and arrogance kills
  • To compete on brand - margins, service, information systems & products become subservient to brand

2. Codependency can be beautiful

  • So many clones lead to consumer exhaustion - people need brands
  • Brands save time, project the right message and provide identity
  • The closer the product gets to the consumer physically the more the brand matters
  • Brands become shorthand for consumers regarding trustworthiness, style, excitement etc...

3. Once you are on - don't let go

  • Does the brand extend to new things?
  • Example: Sears into financial services = NO!
  • Example: Virgin - crossing brands doeswork because Richard Branson is a pesonality

4. If you want great advertising, be prepared to fight for it

  • Keep people who don't know, away!
  • Lawyers ruin great ads
  • Be memorable - life isn't perfect

5. When it comes to sponsorships, there is a sucker born every 30 seconds

  • Halo effect - transfer of emotion from an event to a brand
  • Example: Nike: Tiger Woods and MJ halo effect
  • Example: Ben & Jerry's - support for the environment, socal causes
  • Example: Visa - Olympics
  • Clutter is a very real problem - NFL went from 8 to 30 sponsorships!
  • Get in for the RIGHT REASONS
  • Exclusivity is key - you use it to build an image that is different then your competitors

6. Do not confuse sponsorship w/a spectator sport

  • Consumers should think better of the company for sponsoring the event
  • Use the sponsorship every way and every day
  • Set expectations correctly
  • Make it measureable and real
    • sales bump
    • publicity/PR
    • client/employee benefits
    • relationship building

7. Don't allow scandal to destroy your brand

  • Deal upfront and honestly

8. Make your distributors slaves to your brand

  • smart brands do not frustrate their customers
  • John Hancock - "syndicated sales
    • In 1991, they had 6,000 agents selling
    • In 2000 - they had over 66,000! - doubled sales by partnering and expanding
  • Toys R Us & Amazon - faced their limitations
  • John Hancock decided against a $100M site upgrade and instead partnered w/Quotesmith, Quicken and EVERYONE who could move product for them online
    • By 2000, they were selling 60% of term life online
    • They knew they were a manufacturer, not a distributor

9. Use your brand to lead people to the promised land

  • Product decisions - how will building a new product enhance (or hurt) our brand

10. The brand is the CEO's (and everyone's) responsibility