Brand for Eternity

By | May 17, 2013

By Chuck Sink

LiI’m involved in a LinkedIn group discussion about where to draw the lines between marketing functions like advertising, branding, promotion, etc. A marketer named Jon Sherrington from Toronto offered this wonderful metaphor:

“Within the body that we call Marketing: strategy is the brain, advertising is the voice, media is the lungs, sales is the heart and branding is the soul. You don’t dissect the body to make it more functional. You can analyze and philosophize to the nth degree but it doesn’t change the nature of what it is.” (I detect a little St. Paul in there.)

I really like how Jon compares vital organs to business functions. I had an aha! moment when identifying a brand with a soul. The soul is not of the body. It supersedes the mortal body and lives independently. The brand is not of the signs, slogans, salespeople, advertising, website, events, buildings, trucks, social media presence… It could live on without all that if suddenly those things went away. Could Oldsmobile be resurrected? (Not that it should be unless some wave of consumer nostalgia demanded it.)

I’ve read in a couple of places that the value of the CocaCola brand, stripped of allcoketangible corporate assets, just the brand – the image and the idea alone of CocaCola is estimated to be worth over $70 billion. That’s essentially pure brand equity. It’s the value of Coke’s brand positioning in our minds.

That’s how powerful great strategic branding is for a business. Coke pours tremendous resources toward continually strengthening its brand though committed advertising campaigns. Not all of their campaigns are winners, nor are all of their business decisions good ones (Remember the New Coke fiasco?). But we can see how Coke’s brand equity can absorb even big mistakes and still maintain huge market value sans any physical assets.

So how is your brand doing? Is the soul of your business in a state of grace?

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