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March 2019 Edition
Building Authetic Brands
Jeffrey Spear, President & Creative Director, Studio Spear
Everyone seems obsessed these days with building brands. It's almost as if they believe brands can be created as quickly and in much the same way as a trademark. The big difference is that the trademark is purely a tangible and symbolic representation of your brand and takes just a few weeks to develop. Your brand, however, is the perceived notion of what you say, what you do, what you make and how you act and is a constant work-in-progress.
According to Scott Bedbury, vice president of marketing for Starbucks, "A great brand is hard to find. I walked through a hardware store last night and I came across 50 brands I didn't know existed. They may be great products, but they're not great brands."
Another bit of marketing jargon that is gaining momentum in brand building circles is "authentic." It seems having a brand is not good enough. Nowadays, it has to be an authentic brand.
According to a recent article in Brand Packaging magazine, "Authenticity represents good business because it differentiates the brand." It goes on to say, " An authentic brand absolutely knows its values and lives up to them every day in every way."
If this definition is accurate, it implies there are lots of companies who maintain brands that are facades, supported by smoke and mirrors, with no greater agenda than making a buck.
So how exactly do you build a great brand? And once you do that, how do you make it authentic?
There are lots of folks who believe that, if you have developed a great product, and have designed stunning marketing materials, you will have a great brand. While design provides wonderful opportunities for the tangible representation of your company and its products, and both consistency and quality of design are functional and enduring qualities of great brands, you'll need more.
As the saying goes, "The proof is in the pudding." Accordingly, you'll want the experience that individuals have with your company and its products to be undeniably positive and delightful. This
means that from design to performance, price to promotions, and customer service to vendor relations, the essence of everything you do should align with the core values of your key audience.
In short, your brand is only as strong as the way individuals feel about your company and its products. It's purely emotional.
And when it comes to authenticity, this is just another way of expressing honesty and integrity. If you already embrace these qualities, you won't need to say you have an authentic brand. Actions speak louder than words.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeffrey Spear is the President & Creative Director of Studio Spear, a global branding agency specializing in food and beverage industries. Spear helps restaurateurs, retailers, chefs, producers, growers, and related industry specialists build and maintain powerful brands and brand experiences that are relevant, engaging and appealing to both trade and consumer audiences. Spear can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 904 685 2135.