The Importance of Branding

Lea Alcantara‘s presentation on The Art of Self Branding covered how brand values are vital to your website; perception is almost everything. She based it around the top 5 aspects reported in the 2007 Interbrand Markets Report. The top 10, as resulted from the study, are listed below in order or importance:

  1. Consistency (36.0%)
  2. Understanding of Customer/Target (18.2%)
  3. Message/Communication (14.7%)
  4. Creative/Design/Brand ID (12.8%)
  5. Relevance (12.4%)
  6. Differentiation/Uniqueness (12.0%)
  7. Key Stakeholder Buy-In (10.9%)
  8. Positioning (9.7%)
  9. Clarity (8.9%)
  10. Connection to Customer/Target (8.9%)

Lea used the metaphor of the ‘Nice Guy’ who doesn’t get the girl, with the ‘Guy’s Guy’ who gets all the girls. She contrasted two personal finance websites, Wasabe in the role of Nice Guy and Mint as the Guy’s Guy. They’ve received roughly the same amount of start up funding ($4M), Mint started a year later but now has 6,000 times the traffic and customers of Wasebe. Looking at the top 5 aspects in reverse order of importance:

5. Relevance –  Staying the same means staying stagnant. In the last two years Wesabe’s blog has not changed at all it’s still a basic WordPress template without consistent branding with the site. Mint’s blog started out with the same basic WordPress skin but in the same time period have evolved to be an integrated part of the site.

4. Creative/Design/Brand ID– Branding is the sum of the parts. People attribute personality to products and how they interact with them. The Nice Guy does match the brand, The Guy’s Guy strives to match. Wesabe is hard to remember, hard to spell and sounds like Japanese spicy sauce – not a great correlation with finace; and their blog looks nothing like the main site. Mint has many positive conotations with finace, it’s easy to remember, easy to spell; and their blog is an integrated part of the site with consistant branding.

3. Message/Communication – Emotion is an experience which needs to be communicated in the brand. Nice Guy the messaging is unclear, the Guy’s Guy the messaging is clear and appealing. Wesabe home page messaging says:

  • Why join wesabe?
  • Save Money,
  • Spend Wisely and
  • Reach Your Goals.

Mint’s home page says:

  1. You’re always up-to-date
  2. You know your spending
  3. You find real savings
  4. You’re safe and secure
  5. … and it’s free!

Both sites offer comparable services and both are free. Wesabe doesn’t communicate it’s free and is impersonal. Mint uses personal pronouns and clearly states it’s free.

2. Understanding of Customer/Target– Nice Guy targets everyone, whereas the Guy’s Guy is more picky and targets a niche. Wesabe is available is 30 countries; in the list of features there’s a slide-show link that goes nowhere (sounds like rhetoric); it says it supports 300 credit cards does say which ones. Mint is US only, benefits are clearly outlined and linked; the list of banks and credit card details they support are easy to find.

1. Consistency -the most important aspect. Can we expect the same quality in everything? Nice Guy is all over the place, Guy’s Guy is consistent. The quality of Wesabe is not consistant through out the site, Mint is.

Lea says achieving quality is more about persistance that it is about talent. Quoting Richard St John: “Persist through Failure. Persist through CRAP (Criticism, Rejection, Assholes and Pressure).”

Whilst I was Googling the quote to find where it was referenced I came across a 3 minute video Richard St John, did for TED covering his 8 principles of sucess, where the quote is taken from. Click here to watch it.

 The 8 principles are listed below.

  1. Passion – Do it for LOVE not MONEY
  2. Work – Its all HARD WORK. Nothing comes easily
  3. Good – To be successful you need to be GOOD at what you do.
  4. Focus – You need to focus on one area
  5. Push – You got to physically and mentally push, push, push. Remove the self doubts.
  6. Serve – You need to SERVE others something of VALUE to become successful.
  7. Ideas – You need a good idea to succeed. Listen, Observe, Be curious, Ask questions, problem solve, make connections
  8. Persist – Persist through Failure. Persist through CRAP (Criticism, Rejection, Assholes and Pressure). 

Lea’s published several articles regarding this on her site www.artofselfbranding.com, she’ll be posting todays presentation up there soon.

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