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Unifying the Brand – Why it Matters

If you’ve ever been in a branding meeting or workshop with me, you’ve heard me talk about “unifying the brand.”  My contention is that with 90% of major (and minor) organizations, if you look at the website, print advertising, TV promotions and programming, podcasts, and more, they could all be coming from five or six different organizations.  None look similar, often are completely different looking, and only occasionally
do they even get a common logo in there somewhere.

We’ve known for a long time that “impressions” make a difference in the consumer’s mind.  When all your advertising, promotions, and programming has a similar look and feel – or follows a common theme, it makes a far deeper and more meaningful impression in the mind of the audience.

Last year, Time Magazine revealed some interesting news about why we buy.  According to writer Barbara Kiviat, it’s not about product features, or even what it does. (No surprise there).  It’s about name recognition.  As she describes in the article, in their advertising, the makers of the headache remedy “Head On” don’t worry with features, or what the product will do for you.  They just repeat the name over and over again – and according to focus groups – it works.

Read the Time story – it’s fascinating, and reveals the power of brand unity.  The more you point to a name, the more people remember.  When testing peanut butter, the participants in a study thought the contents tasted better from the jar with a name brand.

Name recognition matters.  So what does that mean to you?  Get your name or the name of your organization out there.  In the digital media world, that means YouTube, podcasting, Google video, and other places.  It doesn’t make you any money directly, but it gets your name out there in the marketplace of ideas.  Likewise, use your organization’s name as much as you can – in sponsorships, promotions, advertising – anywhere you can get it.

Why?  Your goal is to make the name memorable, and make it stick.

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2 Comments

  1. Hey Phil, Can you give us your Fav-5: organizations or ministries that are most sucessfully doing this? 

  2. Driving up a long stretch of the 5 fwy in Central California recently I could see from half a mile away a HUGE billboard advertising what gas & food services were coming up at the next offramp. The biggest sign showed the logo of a famous fast food company here on the West Coast called In N Out Burger. They have a yellow right turn arrow logo that has become iconic around here. That logo represents great burgers, shakes, fries. That's all they do, and they do it exceptionally well. That icon symbolizes brand value/equity. I've NEVER had a bad burger at their franchises. Like Pavlov's dog, their icon got me salivating for an In N Out burger.

    Three days later I'm home watching a Dodgers game on tv. In comes a new pitcher. Up comes that logo from In N Out on the bottom of the screen. They had paid for a graphic placement of their logo on Fox Sports depicting "who's IN, who's OUT?" in the lineup for the game. Smart. Theirs was a unifying factor of identity from TV to road signs to packaging of the product. Consistency. No mixed messages. The success of the brand is that even as I write this, I'm thinking about going and getting an In N Out burger for lunch.

    Why can't christian ministries do this? Oh yeah, right, they hired their brother-in-law instead of a professional to handle their marketing and media. The promoted him to VP.

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