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Want your brand to be hot? Be cool

"Today, business value and competitive advantage arise more often from consumer perceptions of what is "cool" than from physical assets or economies of scale." - Copenhagen Business School.

Companies need to make the right impressions in the minds of current and future clients in ways that will guarantee not just a one-time patronage, but the repeat patronage and referrals that will take their product/service above their competition.

Of course this means the on the road to building its brands, the company has to say, be and do market-defining and convincing things: identify its audience(s), define its visual imagery to give it a distinct form in the ‘mindspace’ of its audiences, craft and deliver key messages for different audiences that speak to their desires and perceptions of themselves, and consistently deliver on its promises (remember what we discussed in 'What a Brand is vs What a Brand is not?").

Beyond all these, a new demand has been thrown into the mix: you’ve got to be cooolll!

Quick tip: What your brand is...

     “It’s not who you know that matters—it’s who knows you that’s important. ...branding builds up your reputation to the point where you have a presence even in your absence.”― Jarod Kintz

Colors and brands

What do you make of a soldier waving a white flag? Will you feel comfortable with a priest who wears a pink frock? Why do expectant parents shop for items in colour blue if they are expecting a male? Have you ever seen an angel painted black? What ethnic nation in Nigeria comes to mind when you see a black and white stripe cloth material?

These are many questions whose answers demonstrate that different colours evoke a variety of meanings, emotions and moods in different individuals and societies.  Similar colours symbolize completely different meanings in different societies; in China, red implies good luck and is used for weddings. In Russia, red means beautiful.

Internal branding: Inside the brand's insides (1)

“Your brand is what they say about you when you’ve left the room.”
Jeff Bezos, founder of 

I got a call from a friend asking me to meet with her friend whose business in Abuja needed ‘rebranding’. During the meeting I listened to the prospective client’s brief which basically was an attempt at driving the image of the company to a certain direction with a mix of public relations, advertising and marketing. When she was done I asked her what her manager thought about her ‘rebranding’ plans. Her answer was short. “Nothing. He (her manager) runs the place, I make the decisions.”

We spend lots of resources - read: hard earned Naira, man-hours and unquantifiable amount of energy ‘packaging’ our image and spare little or no time in carrying along our employees, the drivers of this image.  As my client got to learn, branding is not all about what image you put out, there is a need for all touch points of the brand to imbibe the values or vision of the brand. If your office assistant understands why your brand need to cut the image of a children friendly brand he/she will be more disposed to wearing a smile when a child strays from the visitors area to his/her office.

What a Brand is vs What a Brand is not

A brand is not a logo.

A brand is not a product (in a lot of contexts it is used interchangeably with a product). Albeit, it finds expression in any of these two forms; but a brand is much more than a logo or a product.  According to branding expert and famous author Allen Adamson, a brand is “something that lives in your head. It is a promise that links a product or service to a consumer. Whether words, or images, or emotions, or any combination of the three, brands are mental associations that get stirred up when you think about or hear about a particular car or camera, watch, pair of jeans, bank, beverage, TV network, organization, celebrity, or even country.” It is the feeling a person has about a product, service, or company.

These means brands are defined by people. Not by companies, marketing departments, advertising agencies, or CEOs. A brand is not what you say it is. It is what they say it is.


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