Branding. For you cowboys, I am not talking about cattle.
The question is, when does it start to matter for smaller, growing technology firms? Does it only matter for product companies? What about services companies? Or you could argue that with SaaS, PaaS and IaaS, won’t everyone be in the “services” business?
When I introduce this concept to Exec management – that branding and brand personality matters – I usually don’t get resistance. But sometimes you do get a bit of “deer in the headlights” about what it all means in terms of how you would go about defining or redefining a company’s “brand personality”. This is where analogies help.
I tell the story of that great guru of branding – Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Arnold came to the U.S in 1968 seeking fame and fortune as a bodybuilder. But to pay the rent he and a friend formed a bricklaying company. The company took off when he re-branded himself as “World Renown Austrian Stone Masons”.
Now I think laying bricks in Austria is pretty much the same as in California, but to the rich folks in San Fernando Valley, it sounded like something exotic and desirable. Of course the 1971 earthquake helped.
Anyways, Arnold used the profits from his business to make his fortune as a bodybuilder, movie star, and eventually governor of “Ka-li-phorn-ia” (we won’t discuss how he has since destroyed his own brand since then).
That analogy served as a good ice breaker to conduct a “branding and messaging” exercise with Execs that created good raw input for me to feed to creative consultants in the process of helping me re-brand and re-position a company.
What else did I do in the exercise? Well, maybe we’ll leave that for another blog.