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Glossary of Buzz Update: Branding

05/05/2009

Buzzword highlights: branding.

Consumer’s control the buy, sell, buzz, and message, brand is all.

Brand Church: Apple NYC Store on Fifth Ave

Brand Church: Apple NYC on Fifth Ave.

What’s key is that brand loyalty begins with identification. First to the brand’s promises, but even more to the emotional and visceral experience of what the brand has to offer. The product or service now has become a means-to-an-end. The end being the universal experience.

Lucas Conley takes a hard and controversial look at the impact of branding on culture and commerce in OBD: The Illusion of Business and the Business of Illusion. He notes two key buzzwords.

Brand Church. Retail environments devoted exclusively to showcasing a brand’s experience and pulse points. Devoted brand loyalists are engaged with a total sensory and emotional experience.  (Products are also sold).

Moment of Truth. Branding term referring to shopper’s first meeting with actual product.

Apple flagship Fifth Avenue store, for example, offers an online gallery of images that also includes quicktime movies. Likewise, bloggers Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba examine customer-centric branding world in their popular blog, Church of the Customer.

Two additional words describe the who-spotted-who, star-crossed experience of customers meeting brands and vice versa.

Pulse points. Consumers project emotions onto a brand and hold clear expectations of what a brand will deliver (that’s the “promise” of course). It goes even deeper now, to include a communal experience (what’s commonly known as a tribe or following.)  Buying the brand fulfills these expectations. Expectations may change as the customer’s lifestyle changes and/or their product needs change.
Touch points. Brands manage touch points (i.e., points of contact) to deliver a precise message that will fully engage a customer at the precise phase of their buying or shopping lifecycle. Touch points may include physical space and direct contact with the product or service. Additionally touch points may include advertising, marketing, or sales communications. Considering each touch point as part of a total experience ensures spot-on communications that engage interest, and build loyalty.

Is branding so easy every consumer can do it? Even brand loyalist James Joyce took a stab at writing a tagline for his favorite brew. He wrote:

My brandold Dublin lindub, the free, the froh, the frothy freshener

Instead, the company stood by its copywriters, offering:

Guinness is good for you

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