CEO: Test Your Brand


In 99% of cases, people hear the word “ultrasound” and think babies. This is a branding failure, and it relates to your company — even if it isn’t in the medical field.

In fact, ultrasound, or sonography, is used to diagnose the abdomen, neck, blood vessels, genitalia, and muscles. Having to clarify this pointless confusion, repeatedly, is a frustrating time-waster to anyone in the medical-ultrasound field.

Can you relate to this awkward position? I’ll bet you can, especially if you are trying to raise investment capital.

I’ve met many CEOs who express the same frustration that people don’t easily and quickly grasp their companies’ reasons for being: their brands. Confusion abounds and continues. Confusion is costly. The CEO’s job is to reduce costs.

As I related in Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding, it’s common for a CEO to answer a reporter’s what-does-your-company-do query in four paragraphs — the ultimate branding blunder. Yet, few CEOs want to take the unpopular, corporate-wrenching actions to fix their weak brands.
Don’t Be a Half-CEO

If you care about having a strong balance sheet but not a strong brand, you are only a half-CEO. Don’t be a half-CEO. Your investors won’t tell you this. Your social-media slaves won’t and can’t tell you this. Hell, your board may not tell you this. Why? Because so few people know anything about branding. I’m telling you this.

So, how can you test your brand?

Here’s a quick test to determine the strength of your brand: if it is unique or will be ignored. Run your tagline through this test. NOTE: If your company uses jargon, it will fail the test.

  • B: Brief

    (Is it two words or twenty? Succinct sells)

  • R: Repeatable

    (Nobody will spread the words he can’t remember or understand)

  • A: Arousing

    (Nobody will remember and then repeat anything that doesn’t grab his gut)

  • N: Nervy

    (Bold is a prerequisite for unique. Boringly safe is for being ignored)

  • D: Dominant

    (Unique dominates. Generic is for also-ran imitators)

Parting Advice to CEOs

If you’ve made it this far, you care about having a strong brand — and reducing your costs of sales, capital, and media. Congratulations.

How did your company’s tagline fare in the test above? If not well, your #1 goal is to make it ace the test, to excel at B-R-A-N-D.

Would you want a surgeon to operate on you with a dull blade? Then, don’t operate your company with a dull brand: it won’t cut through the white noise of me-too competition.

Test your brand, and test it often. Bring in qualified expertise to help you.



Engage Me to Test & Verify Your Brand



About the Author

Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs,
producer of MarcRudovTV, and author of the book,
Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding.


© 2015 Marc H. Rudov. All Rights Reserved.


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