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A BRAND is a space in the mind

These are challenging times to market any business or organization

TV viewership, newspaper readership, magazine subscriptions are all down.

The number of social media sites and competition are all up.

SO Let’s start by asking: what is Public Relations?

PRSA "Public relationsis a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics."

It can be an opportunity.

Your BRAND is everything--the things you communicate to key markets.

By definition, a BRAND is whatever the stakeholder thinks of when he or she hears “your name.”

A BRAND is a space in the mind, which you put there and you own…

From a BRAND standpoint, an organization has to attempt to control everything. Everything an organization does reflects on its BRAND for better or for worse. Every decision should be filtered through the promise of the BRAND. YuorBRAND can and must be more than the sum of these parts.

· A BRAND is an unwritten contract of intrinsic value.

· A BRAND is an expectation of performance.

· A BRAND is a covenant of goodness with its users.

· A BRAND is predictable.

· A BRAND is an unwritten warrantee.

· A BRAND is a mark of integrity.

· A BRAND is a presentation of credentials.

· A BRAND is a mark of trust and reduced risk.

· A BRAND is a reputation.

· A BRAND is a collection of memories.

· A BRAND is a space in the mind

The sum of these definitions translates into sustainable customer loyalty. Brands are about relationships, not transactions.

You add up transactions in cost per thousand. You add up relationships in cost per one.

Branding is the same, but Media has changed, so is advertising working?

So, a strong BRAND survives, because of the value of its promise and a weak BRAND, shrivels in competition.

A strong BRAND motivates us to spend, and helps us to define who we are.

You can't build a brand if you can't win the battle for the mind. The weak link is advertising: Advertising has lost its power to put a new brand name into the mind. Advertising has no credibility with consumers, who are increasingly skeptical of its claims and whenever possible are inclined to reject is messages. Al Ries

Let’s face it: we are exposed to a lot of Brands every day, every hour, from Stoneyfield, to Ford, to the Red Sox and Concord Hospital. Today, there are more than 1.4 million trademarks registered in the U.S. alone.

This is more than a name, or an image, or even a place. It is a concept, and a preference.

Tap water is free to most, but Evian water can cost almost 80% more than a Coke.

For a number of years, the largest advertised brand in America was Chevrolet. Last year, General Motors spent $819,200,000 advertising its Chevrolet brand, 67 percent of that on television.

What did General Motors get for its $819 million? Is Chevrolet the largest-selling automobile brand? No, it's not.

To build a BRAND is to create an image in the mind of an audience that leads to a preference to a product or thing.

So, What is the Value?

The exchange consumers make with a good BRAND makes perfect sense:

The BRAND offers comfort, trust, convenience, and identity in a complicated world. In return, consumers give the BRAND their loyalty over another product.

This is a very pleasant state of co-dependence that every company should work to achieve.

And, it is mostly immune to price sensitivity: I will drink Diet Coke as long as I have a choice: I identify with Diet Coke…

The best Brands, like the most interesting people, have a keen set of beliefs, or promises.

For every BRAND that loses its way because it fails to keep its promise fresh, another loses its way because it fails to keep its message consistent.

One place, one destination, one identity.

Not competing messages that are overly generic or bland promise

Hey, we all faces a million temptations to obscure, dilute, or confuse our BRAND promise .

A strong BRAND makes tough decisions easier.

A strong BRAND will inspire the people on the inside.

The people who work for good Brands derive a sense of belonging, direction, and purpose from them.

So what to do?

Consistency of message – look, feel, who are you?

Empower customers

Tell you story – use blogs at the heart of your social media empire – pick 2-3 platforms and do it well.

Be an asset to media

The PR bonds that Brands build with consumers in these times through strategic price reductions or value additions are powerful and distinguish a BRAND from generics.

Thinking long term is important for Brands.

Brands with a strategic perspective come out of recessions stronger and the weaker Brands fall by the wayside - the ability to display character and focus on value provides the difference between success and failure.

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