Is Branding important?

At different times I have heard people say, “branding, what is the big deal?” or   “Branding can not be that important.”  Along these lines people say, “hey I know that product, so why so much of a fuss about their branding activity. Branding really does not make any difference to the intended audience.”

Well, nothing could be further from the truth.  Let me give two examples to prove that branding is not only important for image but in getting and keeping customers. But first a brief definition; branding is a sign, a symbol or a slogan that people identify and relate to a product or service.

Do you remember when Coke changed their name to New Coke? What a mess that was. Not only did people get confused, but some of their following started to try other soft drinks.  It did not take long for Coke to change their strategy and go back to what worked in the past.

A more recent massive mistake was when Tropicana changed their image on their orange juice cartoon.  For years, Tropicana had on its carton a big orange with a straw through it.  The new carton has half light green and white panels with the word Tropicana in script on the carton.  So when I was in the grocery store, like millions of others, I had orange juice on my list. When I got to the milk/juice section, I saw a new manufacturer of orange juice (my first reaction), then I thought, no it is a “knock off” on Tropicana. Then to my amazement, I realized, NO it is Tropicana. THEN, I thought who is in charge of marketing at Tropicana and what was going on in his/her head in making this critical change.  Well I did a little research and talked to others and it was unanimous, what was Tropicana thinking?

With today’s technologies, branding needs to be considered in many areas.  An enterprise’s web site needs to be consistent with its branding so that users “link” the web site with the physical enterprise and their products. The brand also needs to be unique so that the buyer will also associate your enterprise and their product with the product they are seeking to buy (Nike’s brand – the swoosh- is more identifiable then the name).

So don’t make the mistake and not develop a strategy for branding and don’t casually change your branding and assume it will not have any negative impact.

What is your brand strategy?  What stories do you have about Marketer’s branding blunders?

RHL 04/20/10

1 comment to Is Branding important?

  • Dick:

    Branding is critical. Posted my thoughts in our group. However, candidly I am not sure you picked a good example: Tropicana. All they did was a packaging change (which is sometimes refreshing) which for me with the colors (green for environmental responsibility – recycle) and additional panel information beyond nutritionals with linkage to connecting was validation that Tropicana was a premium brand. How about Volkswagen straying from their long time slogan Drivers Wanted. Did that hurt their brand? Now you have me thinking about branding mistakes. Got one. Starbucks VIA.


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