. The Transom .

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Find the commonalities in your brand relationships

Look around your house or your office and make a list of the brand names you find. Some of mine would be: Nissan, Hewlett-Packard, Polo, Nike, Kraft, Crest, Excedrin, Titleist, Ketel One, GE, Sony, etc.

What do these brands say about me? What can you tell me about me, based on these brands? To answer that question, you have to ask 'what are the commonalities in your brand relationships?' Do you look around and see Mercedes, Brooks Brothers and Rolex? Maybe you see Casio, Old Navy and Kia. However, the same person who has BMW might also have Colgate, Fruit of the Loom, and Wal-Mart.

In finding the commonalities, you often have to look beyond the brand and go to what the brand represents. For example, if I have Nike and Snickers, it could mean I want to appear active and fit, but really love comfort and taste. Another commonality is the absence of brands, or generic brands. Do you have brand names on externally focused items like clothing or cars and generic brands for internally focused items like printer paper or a toothbrush?

Looking at your personal brand relationships is similar to looking at your professional relationships. Do you tend to do business with 'brand name' partners and vendors or do you seek out other companies that perform similarly without the cache of a well-known name?

Most people will immediately see the commonalities in their brand relationships. I personally prefer name brands that I perceive as performing well, and prefer generic brands for products or services that are short term or easily replaceable. I know that most brands exist only on a six inch length of space - the one between my ears. But more interesting is how we associate ourselves with those perceptions as well as associate others based on their perceptions.

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