I recently interviewed Gil Bashe of Makovsky + Company on the pr news site and he said something that has stuck with me long after the interview (and that doesn’t always happen in journalism). Asked to define branding, he noted: “Often people mistake branding with awareness. Awareness is fleeting. Like a fireplace – there’s fire as long as you’re feeding it logs. Branding is the ability to leave the family room and still feel the glow of the fire within.”
Think about that. Each of us is well aware (repeat: aware) of hundreds if not thousands of brands every day. The relationship you have with those brands, however, is another issue completely.
For me, there are brands that evoke an emotional or intellectual tie related to making me happy or motivated, making me think or take action, and making me money (less so these days). They include (but are not limited to) Nordstrom, Apple, Real Simple magazine, American Diabetes Association, Diet Coke, Travelocity, the New York Times, the hospital in Baltimore that saved my mother’s life, the Montgomery County Animal Shelter back in my native Maryland. These and other brands stick with me long after my last experience/encounter with them and I will endorse them to friends and colleagues.
Most business magazines have their list of “top brands.” The metrics for these lists vary and are usually accurate in their own right. What does it really mean, though, if people don’t have a connection to what you are selling or espousing?
Does your brand impact one of what Gil Bashe calls the four tenets of branding: intellectual, intuitive, emotional, value-based? If it doesn’t, start listening more closely to your customers and other stakeholders. If you have a strong brand, tell us about it here — and in particular how PR contributes to your branding efforts.
Or tell us about one brand other than yours that sticks with you every day. Please, have a Diet Coke while you’re at it.
– Diane Schwartz