June 20, 2006

A Promise of an Experience

On June 12, 2006 Athol Foden of BrighterNaming.com gave a presentation to the local SDForum Marketing SIG entitled "You Named it What?" It was a great presentation. Check out BrighterNaming for great information on product naming.

In the presentation, Athol talked about the importance of branding and his favorite definition:

"A brand is a promise of an experience."

I missed who he got this from. Google attributes the quote to several different people.

I love this definition. The more I think about it, the more useful it is. What experience does a brand promise?
  • Apple: Easy to use. Hip. Expensive.
  • Toyota: Reliable. Economical. Un-hip.
  • Amazon: Complete selection. Low prices.
The marketplace can saddle a brand with a promise it doesn't want:
  • Dell: Stable. Boring.
  • General Motors: Unreliable. Uneconomical.
  • Barnes & Noble Online: 2nd best.
The marketplace is not always fair. Dell's XPS line has some very exciting products. GM makes some very reliable and economical cars. Barnes & Noble Online often has great selection and lower prices than Amazon. But these brands are fighting an uphill battle against market perceptions that were formed years ago. They will need to be significantly better than their brand promise for many years to change marketplace perceptions.

For individuals, substitute "reputation" for "brand". You have certain expectations when you read Seth Godin, Dave Winer, or Glenn Reynolds. They have earned a reputation by providing a specific value to readers for many years. And each of them can probably charge a lot more for their services than another marketeer, engineer, or pundit who might be equally skilled but who hasn't built a similar reputation. Posted by georgegmacdonald at June 20, 2006 10:20 PM