Fluff, Fabrication or Fact? Authentic Branding Questions & Answers
Branding is sometimes viewed as either “the fluffy side of marketing” or “pure fabrication” by the uninformed and the misinformed.
Let’s have some fun with this viewpoint by appointing the well known branded character, Homer Simpson as the spokesman for this group. Here are his questions.
Question 1. “What is an Authentic Brand?”
Homer thinks a brand is a logo, a slogan or a set of colors.
When offered multiple choices, he guesses a brand could also be a mark, a symbol, a font
or font styling and an image or image set.
But he’s sure that there’s no more to a brand than that.
In fact, what Homer has given us, is a list of the external elements often associated with brands.
Homer’s List of
– a logo
– a slogan
– a set of colors
– a mark
– a symbol
– a font or font styling
– an image or image set
Question 2. “Why is this Narrow View of Branding so Common?”
But they’re not – they’re just parts of the brands.
All of the world’s biggest brands, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Disney (even Homer’s favorite TV broadcaster, Fox) represent their brands with these external elements.
This leads those outside the branding industry assume that a company’s logo, or slogan or symbol IS its brand.
A Company’s Logo, Slogan or Symbol is NOT its Brand!
But Homer’s inaccurate view is reinforced when others, including brand “experts” discuss branding from the perspective of a brand’s external elements.
Question 3. What are Branding’s “Best Kept Secrets?”
Few professional brand strategists speak publicly about the sound, rational, scientific methodology they use to build a brand’s core foundation and rationale.
I don’t know why this information is guarded so closely, as reading about the methodology
does not enable anyone without training and experience to actually develop a brand.
Homer could give me the specifications for a nuclear reactor but that won’t tell me how to construct one on my own.
This is Why it’s Important to “Declassify that Secret,” Now!
I get out my pad and paper and begin to sketch out the process that
I use to develop Authentic Brands for products, people and businesses.
Question 4. “How Do You Build an Authentic Brand?”
As Homer is introduced to the Authentic Branding methodology, he is blown away by
its science, precision, depth and completeness.
He learns that the Authentic Branding Process extracts the core attributes that drive
or unleash the greatest value, richest potential, most relevant usefulness, and most
desirable benefits of the Brand.
The Authentic Branding Process Extracts and Drives a Brand’s:
Most Relevant Usefulness
Most Desirable Benefits
Question 5. “What are Core Brand Attributes?”
Now Homer asks, “What are core brand attributes?”
“Core Brand Attributes are the brand’s main ingredients.” I answer. “They are to Authentic Branding what flour, eggs, butter and sugar are to a donut recipe – the main ingredients.”
Homer is distracted by the thought of donuts,
so I bring him back.
Core Brand Attributes Include:
- The Brand’s strengths, values, passions and ideals
- The value the Brand provides to others
- The needs, desires and challenges of the Brand’s Target Market
And this is True of Authentic Personal and Business Branding,
as the Methodology for Building Both Brand Types is Identical.
Now, there ARE 2 differences between Authentic Personal Brands and Authentic Business Brands.
But I tell Homer I won’t get into that until we’ve finished this conversation. He’s very happy about that!
Question 6. “What’s The Purpose of Authentic Branding?”
The purpose of Authentic Branding is to drive the Brand’s greatest benefits, value, usefulness and potential.
This information is gathered and distilled by an experienced brand strategist, to produce brand deliverables that replace the Brand’s incomplete generalizations with new levels of insight and understanding.
Key Benefits of the Authentic Branding Process:
1. Generating the specific words and phrases that MOST clearly communicate…
“What” the Brand is, and…
The “True Value” the Brand Delivers
2. It also ensures that the Brand messages are delivered…
Through the Channels MOST Preferred by the Brand’s Target Market
In the Language (words and syntax) Used by the Brand’s Target Market.
“What are incomplete generalizations?” Homer asks.
“Most people speak about their value and potential in statements that are unsupported by research or evidence.” I explain.
“Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that’s even remotely true!” Homer objects. I smile and continue.
“Homer, you might say “I am the most popular yellow character on television.”
And everyone might listen, but you haven’t told them anything worth listening to!
Your statement is not grounded in fact. And while it likely will get Big Bird and
Tweety all riled up, it’s pure fabrication. There’s no truth to it. It’s just your opinion.”
Question 7. “What’s Wrong with Incomplete Generalizations?”
Some believe that making grandiose claims about themselves “IS” personal branding.
They couldn’t be more wrong.
Frequently Repeated Unsubstantiated Claims are NOT a Brand!
Because when people present incomplete generalizations, opinions or fabrications as facts,
they tend to be regarded as: 1. Arrogant 2. Stupid 3. Dishonest 4. Manipulative.
(And in the worst cases, they are seen as all of the above!)
“I’m a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are.”
Homer points out.
“Everyone might listen, but what have you told them that’s worth hearing?” I ask.
“Will they keep coming back for more – or will they decide you provide little value to them and move on?”
There are many generalizations, not supported by facts, that are accepted as
truths only because they are repeated so often.
These “Truisms” Include
the Well Known Phrases:
- “The apple never falls far from the tree”
- “Blonds have more fun”
- “Opposites attract”
And so on…
I like, “If something’s hard to do, then it’s not worth doing.” Homer volunteers.
I suggest that’s more a Homer-ism than a truism. (At least I hope so!)
But to get back to branding…
As we have just discussed, like Homer, most Brands speak about their value and potential in statements that are unsupported by research or evidence.
Question 8. “What’s the Value of Authentic Branding?”
Branding enables businesses or individuals to abandon their incomplete generalizations and begin applying new levels of insight and understanding to their
By Leveraging the Insights that the Authentic Branding Process Provides:
1. Individuals can drive their personal performance
2. Businesses can drive their performance on multiple levels
Homer pipes up “Just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t understand!”
He’s not clear yet… so I try again.
The True Value of an Authentic Brand is its Ability to:
Provide a clear direction
Identify the results you want for your business
Identify the results you want for your life
Clear out your trash
Authentic Branding Enables You to “Clear Out Your Trash.”
Going through the Authentic Branding process enables you to get rid of all the trash in your mind.
“Who put trash in my mind?!” asks Homer, outraged!
“You did!” I reply.
By “your trash” I mean all of the thoughts that confuse you, leave you wondering or doubting yourself, make you fearful, hesitant
and in the worst cases, paralyzed, unable to act.
Authentic Branding Removes All of Your Doubts, Fears and Concerns About:
- What goals to set
- How to get clear.
Homer says, “Woo- Hoo! Now I’m clear. My goal is to watch TV and drink beer!”