What we’re going to talk about today are common branding mistakes that I constantly see people making. Again, branding is when you create an identifier with your company, your brand, or who you are. They can identify you by a trait, by a symbol, by an image, or by a reputation. Mark Cuban, he has a brand, what is it? It’s a brash billionaire. Donald Trump has a brand whether you like it or not. Bernie Sanders has a brand. Nike has a brand. You can keep going all the way down. They have an identifier.
Advertising ≠ Branding
The first problem that I find when people are trying to create a brand, is they confuse branding with advertising, and let me share with you the difference.
Branding is an overall strategy.
In other words, branding starts with an end goal. The end goal is for people to be able to identify your products or services over your competition and for them to be able to respect or appreciate your company over your competition. They view you as having more value. Rolex as opposed to Timex. That’s a good brand, it’s a recognizable brand that’s an end strategy.
Advertising could be just a one-week objective. I’m having a sale, so we’re going to promote it this Saturday for everybody to come to the sale on Saturday. Advertising is a promotion. It’s a spoke off of branding. Branding is the central hub. Branding is the objective. Branding is what you want to accomplish.
Ten years from now, we would love to be known around the world as being a reputable such-and-such. Ten years from now, we’d love to have our product being the most recognized whatever, like Kane 11. They would say their goal is to be the number one sock worn by anybody in the world. They’re the company that sells it in different sizes that would be a branding position. We want to be the most purchased sock company because we make the most comfortable socks because they’re made in different sizes.
That would be a branding position.
Advertising would be: We’re having a Saturday sale, buy two pairs of socks, get one free. So, don’t confuse branding with advertising, which is promoting a sale or an event. It’s very singular and short-term. Branding is a long-term thing. So understand that’s a mistake people make.
Name ≠ Brand
Secondly, is that you think that your name is a brand from day one, just because you got a good name. I remember when all the dotcoms came in, like furniture.com. Where are they today?
Just because you have a good name, it doesn’t mean you’re a brand. Good names can help you like Subway. You clearly identify what Subway is. But the reason why you know Subway is because they spent a fortune on advertising and marketing the brand.
Don’t think your name just because it’s good is a brand. It’s helpful, but it doesn’t mean anything. Rolex has nothing to do with watches. Nothing that I can think of.
On the other side of that, don’t think just because you have a name, it eliminates you the being a brand. You can turn any name into a brand. A brand is a reputation. It’s you’re being known for something and being able to be identified by it.
You Try to Brand Too Many Things
This is where Nike gets it right. Other than the Jordan brand, they only promote the swoosh. There’s a lot of Nike shoe lines, but they put their money into the overall brand. Adidas does the same thing. I mean, they have Gazelles they got Stan Smiths, but they market Adidas.
A lot of times people want to market all these little things. Chevrolet does it poorly. They have a gazillion different brands. They push the Malibu, the Comaro, etc. BMW and Mercedes push the brand. When Mercedes has a sale, very rarely do you ever see them push just one particular model. They have a Mercedes sale.
So again, don’t try to brand too many things. Brand the one product that everything is going to fall off. Brand the tree, not all of the little branches.
An example of somebody trying to do multiple branding and it failed miserably is Toys R Us. That was a great concept. Then they had Babies, Kids R-Us kids are us, and they diluted their brand. Instead of having one store that had kind of everything in it, now they had to have three different stores and that killed them.
You Have Too Narrow a Brand
Another example, and I kinda mentioned it before, because I don’t see how far I can go, is you have too narrow a brand and there’s just not enough opportunity for growth. Kane 11 socks. How many pairs of socks to you buy and how often? Socks are not disposable like other items. So to me, socks are extremely limited.
Untuckit. I think that’s a style that’s a trend, un-tucked shirts. I think they have a very narrow market.
MyPillow. They’re trying now to expand their brand into bedding but sometimes you can start almost too narrow and it’s a catch. What you need to do in those cases, is people just need to absolutely fall in love with your company and you just keep feeding them new products because they love your company.
You Change the Brand Position Too Frequently
Branding is a marriage.
We want our reputation to be this, we want to be known for being this.
I’m going to give you really quickly how to brand because you’re like Sean, I don’t know what to brand. If you could make one promise to your customers. If you could have one quality. If you could have a reputation for one thing that you’re following or your target customer would love the most and he would literally chase after you for your products and services your company, what would that brand be?
When I go to buy a BMW, I already bought it before I got there. I was already sold on the ultimate driving machine.
You Don’t Determine the Brand. The Market Place Does.
Just because you want to be a brand you aren’t. You have to earn it. Trump built a brand for forty-five years. He promoted himself as much during the 1980s as he did in the 2000s. When he was hosting Mike Tyson fights and paying the big money to have the rights to those fights and having the Trump name in each of the corners and the center of the ring. He was being introduced with the fighters. That brand took him 45 years to create.
Crest took years to create that brand. And now it’s so good. They can have mouth wash, they can have anything to do with your teeth, but the brain is Crest. Now they can do the whitening strips.