Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Few Words on Branding

These days, the topic on many people’s minds is brands: product brands, service brands, and as a result of social media, personal brands. Everyone has joined the conversation that traditional brand marketers have been having for years. So, the question is, what is a brand and how can it affect business?

David A. Aaker, brand expert and UC-Berkeley professor, shared an excellent explanation in his 1991 book, Managing Brand Equity:

“A product is something that is made in a factory; a brand is something that is bought by a customer. A product can be copied by a competitor; a brand is unique. A product can be quickly outdated; a successful brand is timeless.”

To put it simply, a brand centers on an experience – something so incredibly unique and memorable that it cannot be duplicated by another product or service. A customer has a positive experience and wants to repeat it. Reasons for this positive experience may include customer service, product quality, or ease of purchase. Some examples may be as small as a particular brand of toothpaste or beer to something more substantial as a retail store or automobile.

So, how does this apply to a personal brand? The other half of the brand equation is a corporate identity, or for an individual, an individual identity. This includes differentiation, perceived quality and value, the creation of positive attitudes and feelings, and strong associations. So, when you set up a LinkedIn account and begin building a personal brand, apply the elements that yield memorable and long-lasting product and service brands – and you will be on your way to becoming a memorable brand yourself.

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