Brand Building 201: Finding The Ideal Way

The strongest and longest lasting brands branch off of anexisting category. Branching takes patience and time.There are two speeds for launching a brand, each one withits own pros and cons.

Speed A, like a hot air balloon, takes a long time toprepare before the actual launch. PR, media marketing,favors A. Longevity success favors A. A tree growsstronger with a well-established roots. And this can onlyoccur with good soil, careful fertilizing, watering, andtime.

Speed B, like a helicopter, takes off quickly but requiresmore fuel on take off, fuel that isn't there later on.Advertising favors B. Speed B for the Internet means viralmarketing--spreading by word of mouth. For the Net, this isusually e-mail marketing.

The main reason A is usually a wiser choice is becausepeople are suspicious of new and different. Another reasonwhy it takes any business years to build their success. Atypical reaction: "Wait and see if this new concept turnsout to be worth while". Letting the brand build slowlyusing PR techniques can be like watching a tree grow. Youcan be lulled into falling asleep, however, don't be. Thereis a pivoting point where PR needs to turn into massiveadvertising.

There are two hurdles each speed endures--credibility andconventional. Advertising fails because it usually can'tconvey credibility. It can create conventional--people wantto buy what other people want. People buy to be normal.People like to visit restaurants that have lots of cars outfront. Yet conventional cannot succeed without credibility.Credibility is why the most effective brand launching startswith PR. The only exception to this rule is selling to theearly adopter market.

Real success is a combination of short-lived and longevityproducts and services. Short-lived can provide theadditional capital needed to fuel big advertising campaignsor new research. If you look at the toy industry, you cansee every Christmas they have short-lived fad items and theystill maintain items, like the Slinky, now celebrating over50 years.

Service businesses need to use a combination as well. Fewin these areas understand the concept and usually brush itoff as N/A, non-applicable, to them. Mainly due to the needfor multiple marketing campaigns and the work needed to planand implement. This holds a higher truth the smaller thepractice usually due to time limitations.

Another gear in the branding wheel is the number ofgenerations of buyers. Each generation have their own wayof buying charactertics. The only answer for this, is toknow how they are thinking and why they make the choicesthey do.

How do you move fast enough in a slow building process andstill build credibility along the way? You can use the samemethod many public relations firms use--the leak. You leakthe information before its ready for launching. Thegestation length of the leaking period depends on theradicalness of the concept. The more revolutionary theconcept, the less advertising should play into the campaign.

Advertising is used for brand maintenance not brandbuilding. As I mentioned earlier, advertising lackscredibility, the crucial element for brand building.

The best way for PR use is to announce a new category not anew product. The media wants to talk about what's new andwhat's hot, not what's better. What they say about youdelivers credibility. It's because someone else is talkingabout you.

Launching a PR campaign and an Advertising campaign are twototally different plans. This is a frequently misunderstoodconcept.

For the accompaning article, Seven Simple Steps To A PRLaunch, visit the Abundance Center's article section.

(c) 2004, Catherine Franz

Catherine Franz, a Certified Professional Marketing &Writing Coach, specializes in product development, Internetwriting and marketing, nonfiction, training. Newslettersand articles available at: http://www.abundancecenter.comblog:

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