Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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Gertrude Stein said, "A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose." That may have been true at one time – but then someone invented the brand.
A brand used to be a stigma. Criminals were branded so everyone would beware around them. In those days, no one wanted a brand; today everyone has one. In the age of the global marketplace and the age of the Internet, branding has become a strategic imperative. Products, services, companies, Web sites, portals – even people – all have brands, and all compete for the attention of potential buyers. A recent issue of Fast Company promoted "The brand called you" – explaining how individuals in the marketplace of talent and skills were creating their own "strategic differentiation." Tom Peters, the business guru, has a travelling road show entitled, "Brand everything: reinvent yourself, your work, and your organization." Branding is everywhere.
When a topic has been around for decades, there is a tendency to think we know all there is to know. But in our ever-changing marketplace, it is important to ensure that your brands don't get lost in the shuffle. Consumers change. What they seek in a brand changes. How they use brand information changes. Have your brands kept up with the times?
In this issue of Strategy & Leadership, we bring together a number of thought leaders who offer their perspectives on brands and branding:
Scott Davis begins by underscoring the importance of the customer in the brand equation. He presents a design for creating a customer model for documenting and tracking customer beliefs and behaviors regarding a brand.
Alan Bergstrom looks at the importance of brands in cyberspace. He notes that, whether you are building a new brand or migrating an existing brand to the Internet, some basic rules apply.
Richard Schreuer suggests that driving brand equity is the job of everyone in the company, not the responsibility of marketing alone. As consumers become more sophisticated, they are more demanding about the relationship between brand promise and performance.
David Bovet and Joseph Martha describe value nets, the technology-supported system of supplier relationships that helps companies meet customer expectations by overcoming the fallacies in forecasted consumer demand and responding, instead, to real demand.
Panna Sharma outlines a plan for business e-transformation – rethinking the business model to ensure success in the coming net economy.
And do not miss Gary Einhaus's short article on promoting innovation in large organizations, in which he draws on his work at Eastman Kodak.
Is your brand an asset or a liability in the marketplace? Is your brand image consistent with the expectations of your target customers, or do you have a credibility gap? Does your corporate brand permeate the organization's thinking, planning, and execution? Have you explored your brand to unearth opportunities for leverage and growth? Read on.