For emerging entrepreneurs in this recession there is much confusion about building a brand and promoting a brand. Should you spend the money now or later – when you are generating profits – on creating a brandmark (logo). They both have to happen but it is more important for them to happen in the right order. A blockbuster feature film is a perfect example, the archetype, of the right package. The following analogy should clarify the above brand issues. A film has only one chance to get it right. If it turns out a flop, it cannot be repackaged and redistributed.
Usually the script and story line (positioning platform and slogan) are first developed and from that, the film’s title (brandname) is derived. A big-name director gets together with some producers to raise finance (working capital). Next comes casting suitable and equally big-name actors and actresses (symbol or visual representation) in the leading and supporting roles, the film gets shot and, after editing and postproduction, the product (brand) has now been created. End of part one.
Part of the early marketing is the clever use of the director, actors and actresses in interviews, usually praising one another’s sensitive, marvelous, outstanding, passionate and possibly award-winning performances. They discuss their treatment of their respective roles and the characters, and sometimes the plot of the film. The director will often echo their sentiments in his interview with the press.
The film gets advertised in the press and promoted by a trailer on TV and in cinemas. The film opens with a national premiere and the critics have their day – hopefully, a good one. The film gets distributed worldwide, maybe wins an Oscar or two, and is eventually available on DVD for sale or rental with possible spin-offs such as the soundtrack CD, merchandise, novelties and toys.
If the film is a blockbuster, the brand’s life may be extended with sequels, trilogies, quadrilogies, crossovers, prequels and the like. End of part two.
Clearly, a brand has to be born first, in other words, with a face, before it can come alive. Entrepreneurs make the mistake of putting the cart before the horse.
How often have I heard the words:
“I first have to make the money before I can afford a professionally designed corporate brandmark and identity. Besides, we are selling an intangible service that is personal.”
“It took me 15 years of blood, sweat and tears to establish my company and I did that without a fancy brandmark! Why do I need one now?”
Have you ever asked yourself why it took what must have been a long and agonizing 15 years? Or whether you will survive another 15 years without a face in today’s global marketplace, without the traditional entry barriers to keep the competition out? So you think your ugly duckling will eventually grow into a beautiful swan?
Not likely. If you cannot afford to put a face on your brand first, do it at the soonest opportunity. According to Netcraft, the well-respected Internet research company, active websites have grown from around 60-million to around 78-million over the past two years. That means your competition on the World Wide Web has increased by 30% and your potential market decreased by 30% or at best remained at around the pre-recession level.
Resist taking short-term profits and rather invest in your brand because it will pay handsome profits in the long term. Build your brandmark first, and then promote it. A product without a face makes it a non-entity, which will only result in a struggle for survival and possible suicide.
A properly designed brandmark will not only boost your brands’ current success but will also help your business survive the recession. In addition, the brand equity you create now will provide a barrier that will help prevent future competition from entering your target market.