Thursday, January 12, 2012

Brands Come from Actions Not Words

BP - pollution.
Enron - stolen money.
Firestone Tires - car crashes.

Possible associations. All 3 mean something to their customers and prospects that is not what the companies would chose for it to mean. The brand is in the customers' mind. It is influenced by the company's activities even more than messaging. Who someone or something is, regardless of intention, is what brand is.

Any person, or group of people (a company) that disappoints you through their actions will never fully win back your trust through marketing messages. The soul of a company, the filter through which their decisions and actions are made, is the closest to the brand the company itself will ever get, and those decisions and actions are as close to branding as they can come.

Marketing messages are ideally a reflection of a company's soul. If the heart of the company is sick, then the best marketing messages can do is confuse and conceal it. A company that hurts people for instance, can only try to distract from this reality through marketing; being who you say you are is required, especially in the age of the internet. If a company's heart is healthy, and the marketing doesn't reflect that, then the marketing is broken. The impression the customers and prospects have of a company is "the brand" out in the world. This may differ significantly from what the company intends. Truth can be changed, but truth is truth whether or not we want it to be.

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