Building a Strong Brand SD Forum Meeting

As this blog post demonstrates, not everything that I post will be purely about software engineering. Marketing and branding is somewhat related because if your product does not have a strong brand and nobody knows about it, then nobody will get to experience your beautiful code and your wonderful new product. And so on March 8, 2010 I attended the the SDForum Maketing SIG talk on Building a Strong Brand . The following are my notes from that event.

Update (March 4, 2014): Even though this was my inagural post, it was the first and last non prgramming/technology focused post.

The slides from the presentation are available on SDForum and are directly linked here:

The following are my notes from the meting:

  • Goals of the Marketing SIG
    • Regarding marketing
    • Objective is to come away learning something
    • Great networking opportunity
    • Meet second Monday of the month every month
    • Branding - Speaker Kevin Heney
    • Silicon Valley Branding forum


  • Broad approach and why it is valuable
  • What is a brand?
    • A promise (kept)
    • Emotional conclusion to a logical process
      • Trust is not a logical response
      • An emotional connection to something


    • The combined perception that all audiences have of your company over time.
    • Not optional

      • Can’t not have a perception of your company in the world.


    • "I don’t like emotions. I don’t like the way they make me feel." -John Gosselin
      • Audiences connection with their company is on an emotional level


    • What does a brand do?

      • Create differentiation and preference
      • Set expectations
      • Open doors
        • New customers want to talk


      • Reduce risk and uncertainty

        • Companies with strong brands can survive problems (e.g. Bad economy, bad press)


      • Create loyalty

        • Creates enthusiasm
        • Advantageous to get brand fanatics


      • Affect stock price
      • Affect recruiting and retention
      • Allow for expansion into new markets and regions


    • What is a brand worth?

      • Monetary value of a brand can be calculated
        • "Good will" - the portion of the book value of a business entity not directly attributable to its assets and liabilities.


      • David Aaker’s 5 ways to asses brand value

      1. Price premiums
      2. Brand name and customer preference (measure through focus groups)
      3. Replacement cost (what it would cost if you lost the name of your company)
      4. Stock price movement
      5. Future earnings




  • Company without a brand
    • Generic sodas


  • Brand without a company

    • Pan Am (some investors bought the brand for $3M after the company went under)



  • Brands and what they stand for

    • Lexus – perfection
    • IBM – reliability
    • Apple – creativity
    • Coke - authenticity


  • Brand objectives

    • Build a brand that is extensible and relevant to the existing and new markets
    • Communicate the brand to all stakeholders
    • Infuse the brand into all communications and activities
    • [Images] of brand extensions
      • Success
        • Crayola washable markers


      • Failed

        • Ben-Gay Aspirin
        • New Coke
        • Tried to re-do Ken to look kinda Jersey Coast-like




    • "What would Barbie do?"


  • Brand Strategy: Square one

    • Start with research – who are you?
      • How to customers perceive your company?


    • Competitive landscape – how are  you perceived?

      • What attributes do/can you own that are unique?
      • Need a brand promise that is different than the competition


    • Determine attributes that differentiate you – how do you want to be perceived?


  • Making Sense: Brand Architecture

    • Brand architecture is the systematic ordering of an organizations naming and identity elements.
    • Branded House Example
      • Masterbrand: umbrella name
      • Key brand: name for a group of related products
      • Product name: names for individual products or services
      • Descriptor: nomenclature used to specify versions, levels, verticals, and operating environments.
      • Ingredient/Platform Brand: proproetary tenchologies common to multiple products
      • Above seems insurmountable for small companies– start gradually and be consistent
        • If your unique attribute is reliability, then pound it into your materials
        • When you can be consistent, be consistent
        • When you change directions, you’re starting all over with your branding
        • When your starting need to figure out what you’ve done and what you have and what you’re going to do, then you can build up your brand.






  • Implement the Formal Brand Strategy

    • Branding from the inside out with a top-down, bottom-up strategy in place
    • CEO custodianship
      • CEO must be behind it externally and internally


    • Internal rollout of the brand

      • Need a brand website where you can pull down the logos, with templates, colors, etc. Needs to be available right away.


    • Tools for reflecting the brand consistently


  • Brand Communication "Touchpoints"

    • Four main area where audiences are exposed to a brand:
      1. Products and services (product design, professional services, performance)
      2. Information (marketing communications, website, packaging, ads, tradeshow booth)
      3. Behavior (how do people in your company reflect the brand?)
      4. Environment (physical appearance of the offices)


  • Measuring a Brand

    • Awareness
    • Associations
    • Preference
    • Loyalty


  • Ways to Measure a Brand
  • Qualitative – focus groups
  • Quantitative – surveys, interviews, etc.
  • Brand Globalization
  • One brand, one world
  • Corporate brand standards and messages communicated through
  • Brand website
  • Email from execs and brand managers
  • Global considerations for new products

    • cultural acceptance of creative platform
    • Translation issues


  • Brand evangelists in every region
  • Branding and Social Media

    • Everything changes (because things move so quickly, buzz and viral)
      • Speed at which you can create brand awareness
      • Speed at which you can destroy your brand
      • No more statistical insignificance


    • Everything stays the same

      • Consistency, clarity, authenticity




  • Summary

    • Create a brand promise that resonates with customers and employees and differentiates you form competitors
    • Communicate the brand internally
    • Communicate the brand promise externally – at every touchpoint
    • Measure the brand
    • Adjust and communicate again – it’s an ongoing process
    • It’s not going to happen overnight


  • Silicon Valley Brand Forum
  • May 4th, 2010
  • www.svbrandforum.com