C-Suite Advisory

The Book Report – The Leaders Guide to Branding Genius

Part of schooling typically involves writing some type of “report” on the many books we are obligated to read. Many of us cringe at the aspect while others strive to become the alter-author of the book through their report. Leaders organically fall into the latter with a twist – let us take it up a notch and summarize…I will write my own book from the book. I do not need 257 pages to say what the author said. I can do it in five pages with pictures! ☺

Here is my “report” (no pictures) on one of my latest reads about marketing and branding. Respectfully, I have no desire to write my own marketing book, but I will be summarizing intentionally to create a list of triggers.

Here is a guide of facts I learned to inspire ideas on refreshing whatever you believe needs branding, personally or professionally.

  1. You have 8 seconds to communicate your brand’s message.
  2. It takes true excellence to create a brand that inspires loyalty and ignites imagination.
  3. The definition and universal reason for branding is the art of differentiation.
  4. Use 100% of the branding cycle; before, during, and after the sale.
  5. Innovation is not an add-on exercise.
  6. Cliché’s kill brands.
  7. Distinctly define your brand’s personality.
  8. The magic of the relationship comes before the transaction.
  9. A committee does not empower a brand.
  10. Your brand must be bold and stand for something.
  11. Your brand should have a “secret” mission.
  12. Your brand should be a leader; bold, and push limits.
  13. Tell the consumer why they should care about your brand.
  14. Branding is a symphony of design, color, shape, and form, transcending to magic.
  15. Your brand is a “party” to which everyone wants to be invited.
  16. Excite your customers so they are always talking about you.
  17. Great brands are vitally relevant.
  18. Your brand needs to know when to shift gears.
  19. Brands are not a “box”, they are a launch pad.
  20. Brands need to tell a story.
  21. Every brand must offer more than a good price.
  22. Your brand is the way you make your customer feel.
  23. Inspirational story telling is part of branding.
  24. The greatest entrepreneurs and brands are equals.
  25. Your brand communication strategy must be continuously effective.
  26. We want great brands and our personal mission to align.
  27. The brand’s core message should never be smothered by design and aesthetics.
  28. You brand must first, and foremost have a unique voice.
  29. Every brand must communicate a clear message for good and against evil.
  30. Every brand needs to be the “hero” of something.
  31. Your brand should have “knowns” and “unknowns”.
  32. Your brand must clearly establish why it is different.
  33. Brands are built on what can be versus what currently exists.

This list seems daunting but if it is approached as a check list, it can help target some important points. Many of these are common sense and my first instinct was the DIY approach to brand my management consultancy.

But when I was putting this list together, I quickly discovered that fortitude and tenacity were not going to win the day without expertise to help, AND I was not prepared to test my resources for more than a 90 day period with the DIY method.

You owe it to yourself to get a governess for your “baby” and research for the perfect fit…there are many to choose from and they are not a one size fits all type of expert.

You must have resources that know how to put together a comprehensive strategy specific to your industry. Branding is the foundational piece of the entire marketing strategy.

From personal experience, I knew that “reading up” on the topic was certainly a non-starter. Passing in my “book-report” to my colleagues and asking for their input was not going to get us that big bang introduction into our space that we were anticipating.

Number one on the list took me THREE MONTHS without guidance, and essentially, all I came up with was something “just ok” and we were satisfied we were off to a good start. We did get some guidance and with it, instead of spending another three months, we literally were able to transform to something “great” (see #26) in THREE HOURS.

Once the first thing on the list was achieved, the rest of it became fun and challenging. We were able to make a real game out of marketing and branding activity. If you have guidelines coupled with guidance, it is a win-win-win. By the way, the next time someone tells you “read the manual”, please do that but do not stop there…get the help you need to succeed. Happy Marketing!


Written by Donna Kayarian Chiacchia. Have you read?

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Donna Kayarian Chiacchia
Donna Kayarian Chiacchia, CEO Advantage Consulting LLC. Advantage Consulting is Executive Leadership’s #1 Solution for Eliminating Project Failure. Their services include: Project Leadership | Project Management | Program Leadership | Program Management | Business Transformation Strategy | Business Process Architecture | Corporate Training & Development | Business Operations | Sales Enablement Donna Kayarian Chiacchia is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Follow her on LinkedIn.