No Brand Is An Island
Sometimes a simple phrase is like a song you just can’t get out of your head. That’s what I’m experiencing with a line I have occasionally used in discussing the concept of branding with clients and would-be clients.
No brand is an island.
I just can’t get this phrase and image out of my mind. I think I am intrigued by this turn of phrase because it highlights multiple facets of the branding process. While a brand is grounded in the heritage and values of an organization, it is also evolving. Sometimes in complex, multi-dimensional ways. The evolution may be driven by many factors. New market insights. Opportune winds and unforeseen threats. Emerging technologies and greater strategic clarity.
In addition, every brand has multiple audiences. Direct customers. Influencers. Shareholders and stakeholders. Management. And the hundreds of ambassadors who represent the brand as employees of an organization. If we overlook any of these audiences, we become too narrow in our thinking about the essence of our brand. We risk losing incredible opportunities to strengthen our brand through the advocacy of internal and external influencers.
That’s why it is so important to go through the process of identifying and articulating one’s brand. I recently read a great article on this subject called "Think Like a Big Brand" by Max Gaudet. Here’s how he put it: “A solid branding strategy coupled with a well-executed marketing plan can be a great combo in the quest for brand value creation. But don’t forget, branding is about who you are, and marketing is what you do. Branding is about evolving, becoming, and growing, while marketing is simply the collection of actions that take you there.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
To be clear, branding is part of the marketing process. A foundational part. But branding is not so much the cornerstone of one’s marketing as it is a touchstone. The source of inspiration and strategic insight. Unlike an island, it is not constrained by boundaries or barriers. Its only restraints involve relevancy to the core principles upon which it was created.
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