Good Monday Morning,
This morning I heard on the news that Apple is the most valuable brand this year. I just searched and took a look at the other valuable brands – some were Chinese brands, IBM was still in the top five, Walmart made the top 100 as did Coca-Cola, Marlboro, and Verizon. It made me start to think about what a brand really means. Is it the sign of a quality company? One that provides only top notch service? Apple is certainly an innovator in their field. Their story is that of an upstart and a creative forward thinking company with cutting edge products that can be easily mass marketed. IBM, though, is an old giant that has a totally different story. Stable, sturdy, business like. McDonalds is on the list. So is Walmart. Neither of these companies provides high end services. Marlboro? Well…
What I was trying to decide is what makes these brands so valuable. Here are some thoughts. They are recognizable. With each of these brands there is something visual that you can immediately recognize, whether it is the Apple, the golden arches or the cowboy on the horse. Each of these brands guards their brand zealously, allowing nothing that will change the basic message of the brand. Each of these brands continually reinforces what their brand means. Apple – that’s what the smart kids use. McDonalds – that’s food at a reasonable price that delivers a consistent experience. Marlboro – well you, too can be a cowboy, rugged, independent and the coolest guy in the west.
So what does your brand say about you? Not your Prudential brand – although Prudential also zealously protects its brand – the Rock -- safety, security, stability in an unsteady world. But what does your personal brand add to the Prudential brand? Why would I select you as the sales professional to sell my home? Are you technologically advanced? Do you provide Nordstrom level service? Do you provide value for the money? What is your value proposition? And how do you communicate that to the public in general?
This week, spend some time considering how you need to brand your business and how to get your message out. Decide how to make your mark, how you need to stand out from the crowd.