By: Jim Symcox

The late David Ogilvy, who was very big on research, said in "Ogilvy on Advertising":

"Research has demonstrated that a shocking percentage of viewers remember your commercial, but forget the name of your product".

"All too often they attribute your commercial to a competing brand".

Are you as fed up as I am of hearing everyone talk about branding as though it's the one essential item a company needs before it suddenly erupts into the big leagues?

Branding is all about your company. What shape, size and colour your logo is, how you define your web site templates, your direct sales letters, your emails, the scripts you use (or not) when talking with your customers on the phone.

Brand consultants will tell you that branding is essential in your crowded market place.

It's not that either. The essential strategy is to provide great value, great service and innovate on those elements for your customers.

Branding Doesn't Attract Customers Brand consultants and marketers may claim branding is what attracts customers.

Brands don't do that. Do they?

Look at your own experience as a customer. After all everyone one of us is a customer.

Look at all the brands you come up against every day. Do you actually take that much notice? Unless you've had an unusually good experience with one of the company's and you're ready to buy what they selling.

No, you're interested in getting goods and services from whichever company delivers on their promise and provides a great service.

We don't recall Microsoft's brand before it started selling MS-DOS, yet computer manufacturing giant IBM came to them and gave them enormous clout in the PC market.

Do you remember when that great brand IBM suddenly realised they'd lost a huge operating system market to Microsoft? So IBM created an operating system of their own called OS/2 to win the market back from Microsoft.

The result was that IBM did take some of the corporate operating system market initially but very little of the consumer market. And in the end Microsoft won the market back despite IBM's huge brand.

Virgin wasn't a brand when it started in the music market, until they started to offer something their customers wanted.

What about Google? They weren't a brand. Yet now they're highly recognisable as probably the most used English language search engine.

As we all know that's what marketing comes down to. Giving the customer something they want.

How Branding Is Born If your customers like your product or service they'll recommend you to their friends and colleagues. If you'd started burger giant MacDonald's to begin with your customers might have said something like "yes the burger joint has a sign like a huge yellow M".

And that's how a company's brand is born. Your customers pick on something that they easily identify about you so they come back and find you and recommend you to their friends.

Branding Is A Short Cut It's your customers short-cut way of remembering you. Think about some well-known brands you recognise:

. Virgin - the word Virgin on a red background

. Microsoft - forever tied to their Window logo

. Google - the 4 coloured word Google

. British Airways - the Union flag on the aeroplane tail

. Federal Express - known worldwide as FedEx

. Coca-Cola - the script word Coca-Cola in white

Of course it's helpful if we make it easier for customers to remember us when they talk about us. But in the end customers choose what they believe is a significant recognisable aspect of your company to help them recall you. And it may not be that highly expensive branded set of colours for your stationery.

The second article in this two part series asks if Branding is a must and gives 4 possible issues for poor sales that people put down to weak or tired branding.

About the author:

Jim Symcox, is an SEO copywriter, direct mail copywriter, business process coach, and the author of "How to Leap Ahead Of Your Competitors". Get to one of his Blogs at or to get more articles like this one. Check out his site at to opt in to Jim's FREE and no obligation seminar series on business growth. The following topics are covered:
1 .How To Create Your Unique Selling Point 2 .How To Set Goals 3 .Should You Train? 4 .Direct Mail Doesn't Pay 5 . How To Do Proposals That Pay-off 6 . Is The Internet Costing You Money?

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