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Article -> Branding: Living or Dying

Date Added: July 2009

Note: This article appeared in the July 19, 2009 issue of The Green Bay Press-Gazette.

My friend thinks branding is dying. If he believes this, others must as well. Let’s determine if it is true.

 

Branding is a core part of marketing. Marketing leaders and advertising agencies are paid to create and differentiate brands. Is this working – especially in our current economy?

 

Revenue and/or income growth is a key indicator of successful marketing. A few years ago when the market was doing well, many CEOs stated it was because of them – not necessarily branding. They provided great strategy and leadership when times were good.

 

However, now that it’s bad; it’s due to the economy, branding or something else – anything other than them. What changed?

 

Maybe it’s because organizations forgot what their brands truly represented. Or CEOs haven’t adapted. Banking has suffered greatly; yet, many bankers now “complain” about spending time discussing loans, etc. with their customers. Why wasn’t this happening during the past few years?

 

The retail store asks, “Did you find everything?” The response is, “no.” They smile and offer no assistance. The non-profit organization that promotes caring as its service, but the leaders never smile or say “hello” to employees or customers. Brands are diluted in each example.

 

Branding may be dead because service continues to worsen and there is a growing disconnect between organizations’ ideals stated and behaviors modeled. Some organizations don’t care. Some consumers expect less. And most are doing more with less people. Employees are busier and have less time to respond. If not responding to customers, co-workers, suppliers, etc. – those impacting your brand – then what is being done to strengthen the brand?

 

Leaders should exude the brand so employees can represent it; however, this isn’t occurring. A brand must be delivered by everyone; for a brand is only what the market perceives it to be. Do you merely want to deal with a good or competent brand?

 

Andy Dufresne of “The Shawshank Redemption” said, “Get busy living or get busy dying.” My friend believes branding is dying. I believe brands and organizations are choosing not to live (or have forgotten how to live).

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