Customers who have come to Kendall Press with questions about branding, marketing, or sales have undoubtedly met Keith, our Entrepreneur in Residence. With extensive sales and marketing experience working with Fortune 100 Companies, small businesses, and startups, he represents a great resource that we’re proud to have as part of the Kendall Press team.
Keith was a guest lecturer at the Boston Entrepreneurship Center earlier this week, presenting an overview on branding to the current BEC cohort. This was an especially fascinating challenge, considering the diverse makeup of the group: men and women ranging in age from twenties to forties, working on companies and ideas as varied as office productivity and aeronautical engineering.
Here are three key points from Keith’s presentation that I think are worth considering when you think about branding as it relates to your company.
On Defining Brand
A brand is an encompassing concept first and foremost. It is an identifiable representation of a company reinforced by the emotional response someone has to a business. That emotional response also defines that person’s expectation on delivery by a company. Because of these factors, it is equally important to understand how your brand is interpreted by the general public as it is to understand how you intend for your brand to be received. Apple is a compelling example of a brand that has established a powerful connection to the public. Most people have an opinion on Apple products and culture, and the market results speak for themselves as to whether those opinions lean more toward liking Apple or loathing them.
On Elements of a Brand
Because branding is tied to individual emotional responses, essentially everything encountered by the public, customers or not, becomes another element factored into the perception of your brand. Some physical elements include your logo, slogan, website, and marketing materials that you circulate. Others include employees (think: Best Buy’s Geek Squad), service speed, reliability, and satisfaction. All of these elements combine to form what the public identifies as your brand.
On Why Relationships to Brand Matter
Just because people love your brand doesn’t mean they’ll buy your product or pay for your service. On the flip side, just because people dislike your brand doesn’t mean they WON’T buy your product or pay for your service. Keith specifically referred to the relationship he has with his telecom service, noting that while he’s often frustrated by the brand and unimpressed by the service, he stays with them as a monthly customer, and recommends them over their competition, because they offer what he considers an adequate service with a predictable range of responses.
Ultimately, we understand that business success is closely tied to brand success. We also understand that every company is unique, with unique goals and needs. Because of that, I want to leave you with the big picture questions Keith posed to the group of BEC students as a branding exercise for brainstorming:
What are you working on?
What are your goals for the next 12 months? 3 years? 5 years?
How will you measure your brand’s success?
The answers to these questions can help shape your thinking about branding, and how to position your organization. If you’d like feedback that is unique to your situation, leave a comment below, or contact us today. A real person will read what you have to say (that would be me!), and you'll get a real response.
Jason, for the team at Kendall Press