brand manager tips

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Branding is Tangible.

One of the things I dislike about advertising can be summed up by the words of an ex-client many years ago. He killed an ad made by some reasonable craftsman at FCB/Leber Katz saying “It just doesn’t do it for me.” Client’s prerogative, but not helpful. I coined the term “like-ometer” after that meeting.

Judgmental responses don’t help. They aren’t constructive.

When I speak to marketers and some of their paid agents I often get the feeling they think branding is a judgmental business — where color, name, shape and package are all easements to purchase. Where arts and crafts people make a likeable product visage.

To these people, I say no. No-no-no.

In brand strategy everything is tangible. The What’s The Idea? framework is based on claim and proof. Claim is the promise. Proof is why a sane mind can believe it.  It is proof that makes branding work and it is proof that supports the tangible claim. (You can’t support a claim with another claim. Sadly, many practitioners don’t adhere.)

With claim and proof there is no blow hole advertising. No off-kilter design. No hollow, fuzzy copy. No approvals solely tied to the like-ometer.

And for brand planners who say brand managers aren’t the brand police, I feel you. They are instructors. If brand managers convey the need for proper proof of brand claim they’ve flipped their job calculus…and the likelihood of brand success.

Peace.

 

 

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diplomat

Branding is not life or death. Unless you are talking about the life and death of products.

Branding is about developing a claim and proof array that brand managers use to organize product, experience, deeds and messaging. Once a brand plan is designed, brand managers are paid to manage adherence. Here’s the big tip: There is no room for diplomacy in brand planning. Diplomacy may be great when dealing with the Russians over Ukraine, but there is no room to “make everybody half happy through compromise” in branding. You are either putting deposits in the brand bank or you are making withdrawals (AT&T’s Marilyn Laurie coined this wonderful metaphor).

Brand managers are going to have to say “no” a lot as they manage their brands. And that’s a good thing. People are going to crawl out of the wood pile with requests for projects to be funded, with promotional ideas, PR events and more – many of which will be nobly intended. But if they’re not “on plan,” not making a deposit in the brand bank, they are a disservice to brand development. Even if a lost kitty farm.

If you are a brand manager and you don’t know how to say “no” or why to say “yes,” it is likely you don’t have a brand plan. If you do have a brand plan but the rest of the company can’t articulate it and use it to make daily decisions in their respective jobs, shame on you as well. Peace.

 

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