“If you build it, he will come.” Movie literate readers may be asking, what does Field of Dreams and branding have in common? Quite honestly, it doesn’t matter. The quote from this movie goes far beyond the context of the words. Brands need to be constructed from the ground up in order for potential customers to acknowledge their existence and existing customers to realize their value. However, many companies do not realize that this effort is continual and does not happen overnight. But it takes both persistence and a well-defined strategy. Creating a Facebook page, sending out an email twice a year, and making a few phone calls does not constitute creating a recognizable name. Instead, your brand will be easily forgotten, if it is noticed at all. Remaining at the top of mind is the goal, and remembrance for the right reasons is even better!
Even though a smaller point of sale company, like Retail Tech, is not aiming to be at the top of the Forbes list like our counter-part IBM, the act of branding is the same for every company. Recognition. The target audience may be different, but each brand is relative to its own audience. Building a brand is a commitment; it is not a static project you can choose to do some days and not others.
According to BusinessWeek, IBM is the third “best global brand.” Yet, IBM is constantly changing their marketing strategy, trying to become better, and exposing themselves to new markets 100 years after creation.
“The character of a company — the stamp it puts on its products, services and the marketplace — is shaped and defined over time. It evolves. It deepens. It is expressed in an ever-changing corporate culture, in transformational strategies, and in new and compelling offerings for customers.” —History of IBM
Another company on the BusinessWeek list, Marlboro, is recognized in the Top 12 Best Global brands. While Marlboro is known for the promotion of a life-threatening substance, this does not take away from the facts. Marlboro is one of the highest recognized brands in the world! It doesn’t matter what product they sell, they are well known. Does the negative publicity surrounding the company make a difference?
So I ask you, is any publicity truly good publicity? In correspondence with branding, I would argue yes. It is better to have people thinking about your business for something than not at all. This is not an excuse to be careless with your image, or strive for bad press. Instead, you should take advantage of all recognition that you receive, admit your shortcomings, and showcase your benefits. The ability to work through adversity and gain the respect from your stakeholders is arguably one of the most important things you can do for your image.
So what are you waiting for? Get your name out there…don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It is a long road ahead…create a plan and go for it!