How Time Gambles with Your Brand?

Let’s say you are managing a brand that is about to celebrate its 25th-year anniversary. An interesting question pops up: Should you promote your company’s length of life? Should you say something like, “Since 1990”? When does it make sense to celebrate your brand’s history? What’s the right thing to do?

Two years ago, Rebecca Robins and Manfredi Ricca of Interbrand co-authored an insightful book named Meta-Luxury. They tackled the time issue for luxury brands astutely.

Recently, Jennifer Eggers of Siegel + Gale shared her perspective on the same topic, but this time for B2B brands. She gave equally useful insights regarding time and branding. So, now I feel like it is my turn to join the conversation!

I believe the time dimension is a fundamental –yet rarely thought out- branding issue. Maybe a universal answer exists not only for luxury or B2B brands, but also for brands of all sorts…

Let’s first talk about the nature of time. Modern physics says that space and time are intertwined. You can’t get one without the other. That is somehow related the Greek notion of locus and focus. Locus (as in location) and focus (as in the center point or a point or time in which you are centered.)

Based on my experience, I think all brands that really matter have a strong sense of focus and locus. And the answer to our question might be hidden in these two words…

Focus allows a brand to wholeheartedly believe and single-mindedly act upon a particular truth…

Etymologically speaking, focus means “hearth.” It is the fire that keeps you warm… It happens right here, right now… It connotes instantaneousness…

That means as long as an organization is burning (the emphasis is on present participle) with an idea that offers value to its customers, its brand has a solid base to build on. Should that fire cease to shine, your historical achievements become mere nostalgia.

So, focus tells us that, for your track record of achievements and goodwill to matter, you need to be burning with the same passion today.

The sister of focus is locus… which can be imagined at multiple layers. At the outer shell, locus means geographical position. So, it is the origin of the brand.

Brands that are rooted in their communities, that touch locals’ everyday lives, that do not only sell products, but also create occupations and help communities to develop have a strong sense of locus.

At a deeper layer though, locus could also be interpreted as the place a brand occupies in our collective minds. “That” interpretation is in line with “positioning”.

The latter sense of locus is what all branding professionals aim to create, and that’s the type of locus that makes the time aspect relevant for brands.

But only by caring for the former, you can create the latter. Because in order to have a positioning, the brand has to posit something first…

So, what about the brand manager who is celebrating the 25th-year anniversary of her brand…

She could use focus and locus as a decision criteria. Focus is the present energy, and locus is the roots of her brand.

If the brand has both, then adding the “Since 1990” statement to the logo could make sense. Otherwise, it would be a futile, self-serving promotion.

If your brand is approaching a critical milestone, feel free to drop me a line. By re-membering your brand’s locus and focus, we can help it become historic, and not history.

What can other countries learn from the top country brands? An interview with Jose Filipe Torres

This is the last installment of our interview with Jose Filipe Torres, the founder of Bloom Consulting.

This week, we talked about Bloom Consulting’s Country Brand Rankings. What makes it special? How it works? And why you should care… Click to read the first and the second part of the interview. Read the rest of this entry

Does every country need a global brand? (continued)

jose filipe torresWe are continuing our conversation with Jose Filipe Torres, one of the vanguards of country branding.

We talked about success, failure, limits and dreams. This is the second installment of a three-article interview series with Jose Filipe Torres. Click here to read the first part of the interview.

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What do countries really mean when they say “We need a brand”?

Meet Jose Filipe Torres, one of the best-known country branding practitioners in the world.

We had an opportunity to pick his brain on the most pressing issues related to place branding. We asked, he answered. Candidly… This is the first installment of a three-article interview series with Jose Filipe Torres. Without further ado let’s turn to Jose and hear what he has to say…

In the field of country branding, Jose is a genuine trailblazer. In 2002, he developed the Portuguese Trade Investment brand. Back then he was working for Futurebrand, and that was the first ever country-branding project completed by that firm! In 2003, he founded Bloom Consulting, specializing in country branding, city branding and regional branding. Bloom Consulting’s Country Brand Ranking that he developed in 2011 quickly became a popular research tool, used by practitioners from around the world. Over the last decade Bloom Consulting helped develop or manage the brands of Latvia, Poland, Bulgaria, Spain, and Madrid among others. Thanks to its new proprietary tool “Digital Demand”, Bloom Consulting can measure every country’s desirability in terms of attracting tourists and investment.

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Symbolic Meaning of Numbers

Are you considering to use numbers as a part of your brand? Then, you may want to learn about the symbolic meaning of numbers!

For instance, why do you think 7 is the world’s most popular number? Or does 5 have a gender? Which of the following is better to convey a sense of uniqueness? 10 or 11?

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Should the LA Clippers Change its Name?

Donald Sterling, the disgraced owner of the Los Angeles Clippers has decided to sell his team, and Steve Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft placed a bid of $2 billion to purchase it. Since the NBA approved his proposal, now many people are wondering the same thing: Should Balmer rename the LA Clippers? Do they need a clean slate? That’s an interesting discussion. Let’s look at it from branding perspective!

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How to create a buyer persona?

“Our target audience is 18-48, female and male, C1, B and A.”

You might have heard a similar nonsense statement before… The above sentence is a feeble -and rather soulless- attempt to describe a “target” “audience”. I am categorically against using such lingo as it’s a completely outdated way of thinking. I also believe that in this day and age (#socialera), for a company to be successful, it is mandatory to change its vocabulary. What does this mean for your brand?

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How to discover your organizational values?

Are you trying to define what keeps your organization together? Do you want to discover your organizational values? Would you like to write down “the way things get done around here?” Then, read on!

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Creating a Brand Architecture for Private Label Products

Private label (PL) has always been profitable for retailers: Around the world, the retailers’ profit margin of PL is roughly 40%, which is twice as much as the profit they make from other brands. Not surprisingly, so far PL has been treated as a “cash cow.” Money was invested in PL the product, not PL the brand. Well, not anymore. Why do you think more and more retailers treat PL as a strategic asset, adding value to their main brand?

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Being in command out of control

Do you feel like the world is spinning faster these days? Are there too many things happening simultaneously? Is the pace of your life too fast? Are you looking for a way to keep things under control? How can you control people and events around you when deep down you know you can’t even fully control your own life?

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