March 23rd, 2016
CEOs frequently ask me how to increase awareness, specifically brand awareness. Such common lack of branding savvy in corporate boardrooms is the chief reason I wrote a book on branding just for CEOs.
Newsflash: Increasing awareness is not your goal and is a total waste of money.
Branding is not about building awareness — it’s about creating emotional connections with customers of all stripes: military, industrial, commercial, financial, medical, and consumer.
Only 2.7% of Americans live a healthy lifestyle. Certainly, the other 97.3% are aware of their negligent, self-destructive behaviors. So what? Awareness without action is meaningless.
There are no cerebral purchases. I’m aware of hundreds of companies and products, and I don’t care about any of them. Why? They’re in my head, instead of in my gut, where I and all other humans make purchase decisions.
The sole goal of branding is to magnetically attract customers, with open wallets, to your company. You can do this only by offering them value — not products, not technology, not empty promises — and by concisely articulating that value in their language.
Eyeballs and Impressions Crowd
Branding has two components: message and megaphone. Because they’re obsessed with awareness and bereft of messaging skills, most people wrongly focus on the megaphone. You know, the “eyeballs and impressions” crowd. Truth is, if you transmit a murky message, a blurry brand, through a megaphone, you’ll get amplified murkiness on the other side.
This megaphone axiom is just as true at the personal level. I’ve heard many executives say, delusionally, that branding oneself merely entails appearing and speaking in some forum. If that were true, Jeb Bush would have demolished Donald Trump.
Without a gut-level connection to your customers, your audience, your constituents, your investors, your readers, you have no brand — despite your awareness quotient.
Parting Advice to CEOs
Accept it, internalize it, live it: Branding is your #1 priority.
A strong brand begets attraction and action; being “known” does not.
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.
© 2016 Marc H. Rudov. All Rights Reserved.