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Global Connections

Branding Isn’t Just a Popularity Contest

by Doug Wesolek ‎07-11-2014 01:30 PM - edited ‎07-11-2014 01:33 PM (2,366 Views)

There are probably as many goals and objectives for a brand as there are brands, because not all brands are created equal. Some brands are world-renowned based on their well-deserved reputations. They’re popular because they’ve earned it through decades of focused work and success. Think about Coca-Cola, IBM, and the New York Yankees.


Other popular brands are relatively young, such as Apple, Nike, and Google. And some brands can be darlings one day and relative afterthoughts soon after (Blackberry, anyone?).


While it definitely benefits some brands to become extremely popular (as in “household name popular”), for others it’s a waste of time and money to attempt to be all things to all people. In fact, the cost of popularity can be extremely steep.


For instance, AT&T spent $1.59 billion in ad placement in 2012 (according to Ad Age DataCenter’s analysis of spending data from WPP’s Kantar Media). This figure is approximately the same amount as McDonald’s ($957 million) and Apple ($662 million) spent combined. If you do the math, AT&T spent over $5.00 for every person in the United States.


Luckily, most of us aren’t AT&T, and we don’t have to cast such a wide net to attract eyeballs. But still, how do you gain mindshare and compete with other companies in your particular industry that might have much larger marketing budgets than you do?


The first thing to realize is that branding is more than just a popularity contest. It’s about being relevant to the people who are most likely to need and buy what you’re selling.


The high-tech B2B world is pretty insular, and that might actually be a good thing. It’s often clear that we’re not selling to the masses, and there’s questionable value in needing everyone to recognize your brand. Whereas we all know what smart phone brands are available, it’s not unusual for server administrators (for example) to be unaware of brands in an adjacent market category such as networking—simply because it’s not relevant to their daily jobs.


That’s why you should build your brand with precision. You can’t be everything to everyone, and budget realities will likely force you to make difficult choices and be more selective in determining whom you want to reach with your brand.


You can begin building your brand with precision by:

  1. Identifying the core audiences for whom your brand has clear relevance.
  2. Researching the most effective ways to reach them.
  3. Focusing your efforts on helping them understand exactly what your brand can do for them.
  4. Spending accordingly…to meet your clearly defined objectives.


A little bit of research and marketing discipline can go a long way in making your brand more relevant—and popular—with the people who actually matter.