All Branding is Local.
I believe it was Tip O’Neill who said “All politics is local” – the implication clearly being that people care most about what affects them directly.
Seems to me, the same can be said about branding. Yet, all too often, people tend to associate branding with major international and national players. McDonalds. Sony. Holiday Inn. Coca Cola.
The truth is, however, that these brands are only relevant when they have a direct impact on a person’s life. Just for kicks, I went to the Fortune 500 list. Valero Energy Corporation is number 35 on the list. That would seem to qualify as a major brand. The reality is I know nothing about the company. Thus I have no idea what the company stands for or what my expectations of the brand should be. On the other hand, there is a little specialty grocery store near our home with an incredible selection of gourmet foods, unusual wines and cheeses and prepared entrees. In addition, I can always count on a positive shopping experience when I go there.
That’s what branding is all about. It’s the cumulative expectations that a consumer has about a product or store or service. These expectations are created through direct personal experience or indirectly through referrals, advertising, PR or other communications channels.
A friend of mine in the business once created a line that I have stolen frequently (and shamelessly) in the context of retail marketing. He said “the most important brand in your store is the brand on the store.”
Knowing that national product manufacturers spend hundreds of millions building brand recognition, it’s easy for retailers and distributors to downplay their own identity. That’s a mistake. The point of contact is the point of purchase. This is where the experience is delivered and where expectations are formed.
The same can be said about marketing through other distribution channels. A clear understanding of your brand and making sure that every transaction or communication reinforces that brand are essential for optimal success. From the smallest local retailer to the most prominent Fortune 500 Company, it truly is all about the brand.
To get our latest articles when they are posted, please subscribe by e-mail or RSS.