“We Need a New Brand”

Branding means everything

Don’t confuse marketing terms

I have heard “We need a new brand” from more than one executive in my 30+ -year career, and the little voice inside my head keeps saying: “Why? Does your company have such a bad reputation that it’s worth blowing the whole thing up? Do you realize what it takes to build a brand from scratch?”

After I dig beneath the surface with a few probing questions, I soon understand what I had suspected all along. It’s not the brand that needs to be new, it’s a logo, or a marketing campaign, or even a website!

Therein lies the confusing question: What do people mean when they use the word, brand?

Now, don’t beat yourself up for not knowing the exact meaning of brand. We marketers, like so many other professionals, have our own jargon. If you don’t know what those words and phrases are, it can be very confusing and you may resort to the one word that seems to encompass it all – brand.

To help you along, here’s a short list of terms that can help you figure out what those marketing pros are saying and what you need them to know:

  • Brand: An overarching feel, look and essence of a company.
  • Identity: Another word for brand.
  • Logo: A visual (graphic) representation associated with a company.
  • Tagline: A written expression – generally only a few words – used to convey further understanding of a company and its brand.
  • Marketing Plan: An internal document, driven by the company’s strategic goals/initiatives, that outlines marketing goals, strategies and promotional activities.
  • Campaign: A promotional effort (generally advertising and/or public relations) that is associated with a strategy within a marketing plan. It has a beginning and an end.
  • Advertising: Paid promotion.
  • Public relations: Unpaid or earned promotion.
  • Social Media: Promotion (paid and unpaid) through websites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc…
  • Digital marketing: Promotion delivered on computers, cell phones and other electronic devices.
  • Collaterals: Printed materials, like brochures, direct mailers, and stationery.
  • Content: Words, pictures, videos, etc…
  • SEO: Search Engine Optimization, which in basic terms means getting your website recognized and ranked high on search engines like Google and Bing.

Marketing is the CEO’s Responsibility

Marketing is at the table

Marketing strategy starts with leadership

Let’s get this on the table right now; the marketing department is NOT responsible for marketing.

Blasphemy! I know, right?!?

Well, it’s true. No department can market your company. It’s everyone’s job, from the janitorial staff to senior leadership.

While it’s everyone’s job, no one is more responsible for it than the head of a company. Besides setting strategy and watching the numbers, marketing is the CEO’s responsibility.

You may have heard the old adage that finance is king. Nope. Marketing is king. There is nothing more important for a company than surviving and thriving, and the only way to survive and thrive is to produce more business – a.k.a. marketing!

So, I have always been puzzled when the CEO steps out of the room when the topic comes up. All too often, this type of disengagement sends the message that marketing is a task, not the lifeblood of a business. The marketing department becomes the dumping ground for all of those chores and calls that no one wants to be bothered by.

What a waste, and what a mistake. Perhaps we need to reframe the Marketing Department. If marketing is king, then the that department is the king’s army.

The most effective marketing departments are those that have their CEO’s full attention. The CEO doesn’t drop in and out every once in a while. Their leaders are engaged, attentive and making sure that messaging, branding, promotion and sales are operating in concert and at full speed.

The department creates messaging, branding, promotional and sales tools so that every employee of a company can execute their jobs and promote the company.

That’s what makes the department so essential, and I don’t know about you, but that’s the last department I would make the dumping ground of anything.

Here We Go!

Blogs…

I’ve written posts of all types.

Years ago, I wrote blog posts about marketing. And then, I wrote a personal blog about being a working mom.

For a long time, I’ve resisted writing a blog on our website, but now there’s a number of compelling reasons why it’s a good idea. The most compelling is that we have something to share that is going to help others.

So, here we go. I hope you enjoy what insights we can offer. Tell us what you are thinking about and what you need, because we’re here to help.

Thanks for reading!

Laurie