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I am in the middle of a serious re-branding, which has forced me to revisit my thoughts on branding, which have been highly influenced by the brand whisperer, Al Ries.  Below are a collection of mostly his thoughts, which I think are the most important considerations of any brand.  If this is all you know about branding, I think you’ll be better prepared than most people:

  1. A brand is nothing more than a name. But a name is the most important branding decision you will ever make. In the shortrun, a company needs to be innovative to thrive. But in the long run, the competitors catch up, and the only thing that differentiates the company is the name.
  2. Here are some rules I look for when picking a product name:
    • Easy to spell
    • Easy to pronounce
    • Short + simple (short length and small number of keywords)
    • Easy to remember
    • Meaning baked in
    • Singular purpose
    • Unique
  3. The mind doesn’t deal in letters or words – it deals in SOUNDS.  This is why combining generic words rarely works.
  4. Finally, a brand becomes stronger when you narrow its focus. Some people recommend narrowing the focus until there is no existing market — and at that point you create a new category where you are the leader.
  5. And never underestimate the importance of selling yourself as the leader. Leadership is the single most important motivating factor in consumer behavior.

The company that I am re-branding is the leader in data-driven marketing training.