Building a Brand

I believe there are two types of marketers; the technicians who focus on the process of marketing and the champions who are focused on the brand(s) themselves and become strong advocates for their brands.  I must confess that I am much more of a brand champion than a brand technician.


When I first started in Consumer Packaged Goods marketing at Unilever I was passionate about the brands for which I was responsible.  I was famous for going into the bathroom cupboards of my friends and expressing shock if they had another bar soap instead of Dove or another toothpaste instead of Pepsodent or Close-up.  I felt it was my duty to cure them of the error of their ways and to ensure that in future they only bought the brands for which I was responsible. 


Needless to say this activity did not necessarily endear me to my friends, particularly those who worked for a competitor.  In fact it got so bad once I moved to Coke and one of my best friends moved to Pepsi that our wives had to make a rule that we were not allowed to talk business after the first 30 minutes and neither of us was allowed to extol the respective virtues of our brand to others, especially bartenders or restaurateurs when we went out for dinner or to meet with friends.


When I joined IDV, now Diageo the Managing Director George Bull used to start just about every presentation he gave with the opening line: Brands! Brands! Brands!  George was a passionate champion of brands and encouraged everyone in the organization to think about brands.  The company even had an incubator new brand development program that was theoretically open to anyone in the company who wanted to develop their own wine or spirit brand for the company.  It was in this environment and culture that my championship of brands came to fruition.


This blog is dedicated to the idea of how to build brands because brands are the foundation of any good company regardless of the business it is in; consumer facing; business facing or both.  The essence of brand building for me is understanding who your consumer is and what their wants, needs and most importantly their desires are.  They may not be able to clearly articulate them for marketers but it is critical that we as marketers, understand them.

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