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The Art of Branding

By: Mackenzie Danklethebeau

What is a brand? On September 25th, Jim Thebeau, CEO of the Iowa Advertising firm HenryRussellBruce, gives an insightful presentation to the Iowa PRSSA chapter members on “The Art of Branding,” and why it is fundamental to both company and personal success.

Thebeau describes a brand as “a gut feeling you have about a product, service, or organization.”  Essentially, a brand represents an image or perception that a person has of a company. Thebeau goes on to say that, most importantly, a brand represents “the level of trust, the emotional connection that a customer has with a product.” What makes consumers choose Nikon over the many other camera brands? Thebeau would say it is the level of trust and familiarity that customers have with Nikon–customers base their decisions on previously established reliability.

So, why is branding important? Thebeau explains that in today’s society, there are “too many choices, too little time.” Consumers need persuasion when it comes to choosing a product, and branding is a strategy that, if successful, will “get more people to buy for more years at a higher price.” Branding helps companies build not only trust, but also profits.

Not only do consumers have a wide range of options to choose from, but “most offerings have similar qualities/features.” Theabeau stresses the most important factor in differentiating your brand–FOCUS. The “Focus Test” involves three questions to consider:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you do?
  3. Why does it matter?

Companies and professionals who devote themselves to enhancing their brand to serve the customer will ultimately find success.

Thebeau concludes with three steps to successful branding:

  1. Find out what differentiates you
  2. Make that a promise to customers
  3. Keep that promise!

“We’re hardwired to notice only what’s different,” said Thebeau. What makes you different?

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