Are you branded — the right way?

There's a lot of talk in business these days about the value and importance of brands. Marketers look enviously at the world's great brands and dream of growing their own brands into world powers.
By Richard L. Dunn June 1, 1998

There’s a lot of talk in business these days about the value and importance of brands. Marketers look enviously at the world’s great brands and dream of growing their own brands into world powers. Some brands are so well established that they are mistakenly used to name all similar products. People are more likely to say, “Hand me a Kleenex,” than they are to say, “Hand me a facial tissue.” You get the idea.

Don E. Schultz, a marketing consultant and professor, says that brands are the personification of the relationship between the marketer and the customer. Brands are what customers buy, he says, what they relate to, and what they believe in.

That’s pretty powerful stuff.

We on Plant Engineering magazine know the value of our brand, and we work hard to make sure it’s a name that you relate to and believe in. Our corporate parent, Cahners Business Information, is working to improve its brand recognition, too, as you can read about on p 12 in this issue.

While we recognize and readily accept the concept of branding in relation to companies and products, we don’t normally attach branding concepts to people or organizations.

Even so, you are a brand, or perhaps more accurately, have been branded. We all have been, by virtue of what we do or where we work. I’ve been branded as an editor, for better or worse.

My questions are: How are you branded? And what are you doing to strengthen your brand? Schultz advises that brands are built with well-planned, well-designed, well-executed programs that focus on customer value and relationships. Successful brands in the marketplace don’t just happen. They are created, nurtured, and promoted. Your computer doesn’t have an “Intel Inside” sticker on it because the manufacturer thinks it looks nice. It’s there because the Intel brand means something to the customer.

How are you working to position yourself or function in the plant as a recognized and respected brand? What comes to your internal customers’ minds when they hear “plant engineer” or “maintenance department?” Are you customer focused and value oriented? Do they see you as contributing to profits or as a necessary, undesirable cost? Are you a valuable resource or a pain in the you-know-what? Are you an essential team member or a candidate for outsourcing?

A good brand is a valuable asset. And I’ll bet yours, like mine, could be strengthened.