The Power Brand Mix

The Power Brand Mix | Human Resource Executive Online The leader of a firm that offers marketing communications and branding services offers three ways to create a powerful brand.

Monday, March 16, 2009
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A powerful brand is a powerful asset -- it can help your organization stand out in the marketplace, create raving fans and demand premium pricing. But how do you get to the point of having a powerful brand in the first place?

Logos Get Their Power from Brands

A logo, which is just a part of your brand, gets its power from the brand it represents. What do you think of when you see the Nike swoosh -- by itself, without the word Nike?

For millions of people around the world, this symbol -- in all languages and without any words -- makes them feel like they can jump like Michael Jordan, run the soccer field like Mia Hamm and hit a golf ball like Tiger Woods.

And then there's the phrase, "Just do it," which has just about as much cache as the swoosh symbol itself. These powerful symbols of the Nike brand didn't gain their power by accident. They gained their power from Nike's consistent and frequent promotion of the Nike brand.

No. 1: Powerful Brands are Consistent

Take a look at your favorite brands. Notice how consistent they are with their brand messages. Nike has been consistent with their message that Nike is the brand that top athletes use. Even if not stated in those exact words, you've been hearing and seeing that message from Nike for years.

No. 2: Powerful Brands are Seen Frequently

How often do you see Nike? In magazines, in retail promotions, on TV and even on the athletes themselves, Nike is out there frequently.

If it were as easy as being consistent with frequent promotion, every brand could be as powerful and successful as Nike, correct? So there has to be something else -- why isn't every brand as powerful and as successful as Nike?

No. 3: Powerful Brands are Based on Values

When correctly developed, an organization's brand reflects the organization's values. It stems from identity. It flows from what the company truly is, at its core. That's good news, because developing an organization's brand is a chance to show the organization's authentic self, to put its best foot forward.

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Just keep in mind that it still has to be the company's actual foot -- it has to be genuine.

The truth is, a brand is only as good as the organization is. Customers are smart; they can always tell when a brand isn't based on values. Brands not based on values have a hollow ring to them, they lack the personal feel necessary for people to connect emotionally.

Nike's strong values are attached to the athletes who endorse the brand. By buying Nike products, you're buying into Tiger Woods' strong values, and the values of other top athletes. Those are the values Nike has come to represent as well.

Add these three ingredients to your Power Brand Mix and your brand will be well on its way to becoming a powerful brand.

Martha Hoeck is president and CEO of Toledo, Ohio-based Hoeck Associates, Inc., whose firm offers visual strategic planning and integrated marketing communications.

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