Addressing the Question: Why branding is important

A couple posts ago, I gave my thoughts on how to respond when asked about advertising return on investment (ROI). Today, I’d like to offer my favorite analogy to explain why branding is important. Although the need for consistent communication seems so fundamental to those of us in marketing, advertising, and communications, it isn’t to everyone. So, I created the “Meet Joe” analogy below to explain branding in a way that most, if not all people understand. If you like it, please feel free to use it for non-commercial, non-proprietary reasons. All I ask is that you give me credit for it.

Meet Joe Branding Analogy

Envision yourself as a hiring manager and…

Meet Joe

Man in a suit
Photo from Flickr: David Boyle

Joe is interviewing for a position in your company. Because of how you do your interviews, you end up interviewing Joe three times. At each interview, Joe appears to be different. He gives a different resume each time with basically the same information, but with some variations. One time he’s dressed in a full suit, then the next he’s in khaki’s and a polo shirt. Then the next time he’s dressed in slacks and a sport coat. One time he comes in and acts very formal and professional and then the next time he is very laid back and acts like you two are best friends. Then the next time he comes in, he acts very distant.

  • Based on that info, would hire Joe?
  • Why not?
  • Do you trust him?
  • Is the communication about your business like your interview with Joe?
  • Is it consistent?
  • Are you confusing your customers about who you are and/or causing them not to trust you?
  • Inconsistent branding including different logos, different looks to your different marketing pieces, etc. can confuse the customer. This is why branding is important.
  • It’s ok to emphasize different elements of your business, but if you’re doing it so much that your customers are confused about who you are, it’s a problem.

So there’s the analogy. I use it a lot during my talks on Broken Windows Theory and marketing. Do you like it? Would you make any changes to it? How do you explain why branding is important?

2 thoughts on “Addressing the Question: Why branding is important”

  1. This is a good analogy. The questions are tough! I’m not sure I would hire Joe, but why not? You want a representative of your company to be consistent and somewhat predictable. On the other hand, I appreciate people who are diverse, especially in Marketing. You need employees that are empathetic, creative, and somewhat malleable. Interesting conversation you’ve prompted! Company branding is essential and effective. People branding is almost a different game! Thanks for sharing your analogy with us

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