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Does This Logo Make My Brand Look Fat?

Does today's globalized, highly-interconnected world require new approaches to branding?
Apr 9, 2014 — M. Filtz
In the business world, it's hard to imagine a more ambivalent group of people than today's brand managers. With social media and globalization, they're faced with huge opportunities to grow their brands and company profits; but at the same time, one false step can really hurt. Just look at KFC – when the fried chicken company tried to break into the lucrative Hong Kong market in the 1980s, it didn't realize that its well-known slogan, “finger-lickin' good,” would translate to “eat your fingers off” in Chinese.
Of course, KFC changed the slogan posthaste, and the company is currently doing quite well in Hong Kong, and is growing strongly in mainland China. However, if this happened today, with sarcastic Tweets, memes, and fun-poking Tumblr posts, one could easily imagine a blunder like this turning into a full-blown crisis.
Pitfalls like this are one reason why a number of managers are turning to executive education to help with branding issues. “There's a realization that this is a really important topic,” says Kevin Lane Keller.
“Your brand is just critical, as an asset. It affects you in so many ways, and you can benefit from it in so many ways.”
Keller teaches on an executive program called “Brand and Reputation” at Dartmouth College's Tuck Executive Education. Over two and a half days, the program covers tools and frameworks that can help participants develop a strategic approach to building brand equity and reputation. 
Likewise, McMaster University's DeGroote School of Business offers a one-day course in “Corporate Branding and Reputation Management,” as part of a broader which also covers strategic issues such as planning, as well as the importance of identifying stakeholders. The latter can be particularly important to many organizations, who often need to think outside the marketing box when considering brand and reputation. According to Barry Kuntz, who teaches on the program, “the course shows that building, growing and protecting corporate reputation is definitely not the job of marketing alone.”
“Indeed, a company can fail if they miss this very important point.”
Linking brand with reputation
These two programs are part of a growing number that link brand and reputation – two core concepts in corporate communications which often overlap. A large-scale study done last year by Hill+Knowlton found that even if the terms are frequently confused or used inaccurately, they are in fact strongly correlated, meaning that perceptions of both tend to move in the same direction. Additionally, the study found that “they are indeed separate constructs, and they speak to separate (though sometimes overlapping) audiences about different issues.”
“They're clearly related,” Dartmouth's Kevin Keller says. “When you think about it, reputation is another word for image, and brand image is a well-established concept in marketing.”

Upcoming programs & courses:

Program Title Offering School Start Date
Direction commerciale ESCP Paris Oct., 2014
Direction Marketing ESCP Paris Oct., 2014
Marketing stratégique ESCP Paris Oct., 2014
Pricing for Improved Profits: Strategies and Tactics PBS Oct. 01, 2014
Branding: Gestão Estratégica de Marcas (Noturno) Insper Oct. 02, 2014
Big Digital Marketing for Hospitality Penn State - Smeal Oct. 02, 2014
Kellogg on Branding: Creating, Building, and Rejuvenating Your Brand Northwestern - Kellogg Oct. 05, 2014
Creating Place Advantage: Effectively Branding Your City, Tourist Attractions and Developments York - Schulich Oct. 06, 2014
E-Marketing: Strategies for Success York - Schulich Oct. 06, 2014
Medical Marketing UCLA - Anderson Oct. 06, 2014
Branding — Gestão Estratégica de Marcas Saint Paul Oct. 06, 2014
Marketing Immobiliare: Il marketing delle operazioni immobiliari SDA Bocconi Oct. 07, 2014
Marketing y Business EADA Oct. 07, 2014
Brand Value Management & Portfolio SDA Bocconi Oct. 08, 2014
Corporate Branding and Reputation Management McMaster - DeGroote Oct. 08, 2014
Market Validation: Know Your Markets Before You Build Your Product or Service UT Austin - McCombs Oct. 09, 2014
Digitalizzazione dei processi di filiera: l'Extended Enterprise MIP Oct. 09, 2014
Executive Master Marketing y Ventas - EMMV ESADE Oct. 10, 2014
Programme intensif de marketing HEC Montreal Oct. 10, 2014
Wharton Marketing Metrics: Linking Marketing to Financial Consequences Wharton Oct. 13, 2014
Sales Management - Edizione Autunnale SDA Bocconi Oct. 13, 2014
Brand Management & Communication Vlerick Leuven Oct. 13, 2014
Retail Banking nell' Era della Digital e Innovation Economy SDA Bocconi Oct. 13, 2014
Strategic Marketing Management University of Queensland Oct. 13, 2014
Certificate Program in Marketing and Branding Georgia State Oct. 14, 2014
Marketing Strategy and Planning CEIBS - Shanghai Oct. 14, 2014
Marketing of Innovations UT Austin - McCombs Oct. 14, 2014
Customer Insight MIP Oct. 14, 2014
Planificación Estratégica de Mercadeo INCAE Oct. 14, 2014
Managing Key Accounts HEC Paris Oct. 15, 2014
Go To Market SDA Bocconi Oct. 15, 2014
Voice of the Customer in Business Markets Penn State - Smeal Oct. 15, 2014
Executive Master Marketing y Ventas - EMMV ESADE Oct. 17, 2014
Strategic Marketing in Action IMD Oct. 20, 2014
Customers and Markets - AMP (Module I) TBC IEDC - Bled Oct. 21, 2014
IS Relationship: Gestire le relazioni con il mercato interno ed esterno dei sistemi informativi SDA Bocconi Oct. 21, 2014
Customers and Markets - AMP (Module I) TBC IEDC - Bled Oct. 21, 2014
Competitive Positioning HKUST Oct. 21, 2014
Strategic Marketing Management SSE Oct. 21, 2014
Marketing y Gestión Estratégica de Servicios IAE Business School Oct. 21, 2014
Social Media: Generating Measurable Results UCSD - Rady Oct. 21, 2014
Parcours Expert: Marketing KEDGE Oct. 22, 2014
Internet, Social Media and Mobile for Corporate and Marketing Communication SDA Bocconi Oct. 23, 2014
Digital Marketing and Community Management Trends Universidad de los Andes Oct. 23, 2014
Social Media Boot-Camp McMaster - DeGroote Oct. 24, 2014
Marketing Strategies for Profitable Growth – China Harvard Oct. 26, 2014
Visual Merchandising & Atmosfera. Ambienti, Relazioni, Esperienze SDA Bocconi Oct. 27, 2014
Customer Focused Marketing: The Key to Unlocking Profits London Business School Oct. 27, 2014
The Innovative Organization UC Berkeley - Haas Oct. 27, 2014
Digital & Social Media Strategies Summit: Social Media 101 Georgia - Terry Oct. 27, 2014
Programa Dirección de Marketing - PDM ESADE Oct. 29, 2014
Masterclass Customer Experience Strategie & Executie Nyenrode Oct. 29, 2014
Digital & Social Media Strategies Summit: Digital Marketing Academy Georgia - Terry Oct. 29, 2014
Marketing de la Santé - Réinventer le marketing dans l'univers de la santé ESCP Paris Nov., 2014
Distribution Channel Management: Bridging the Sales and Marketing Divide Northwestern - Kellogg Nov. 02, 2014
Strategic Marketing Management Columbia Nov. 02, 2014
Accelerated Development Program - London Chicago - Booth Nov. 03, 2014
Advanced School of Marketing Research Georgia - Terry Nov. 03, 2014
Marketing Healthcare Products Northwestern - Kellogg Nov. 03, 2014
Product Management UC Berkeley - Haas Nov. 03, 2014
Marketing Performance MIP Nov. 04, 2014
Pharma Marketing. Il Marketing Farmaceutico SDA Bocconi Nov. 05, 2014
The Marketing in You: New Frontiers for Marketing and Retailing Leaders SDA Bocconi Nov. 05, 2014
Executive Masterclass Key Account Management Nyenrode Nov. 06, 2014
Customers' Hidden Needs Cranfield Nov. 06, 2014
Employer Brand Manager WU Executive Academy Nov. 07, 2014
Marketing to Financial Services Customers Northwestern - Kellogg Nov. 09, 2014
Strategic Marketing Communications in Today's Media World Northwestern - Kellogg Nov. 09, 2014
Key Account Management - Edizione Autunnale SDA Bocconi Nov. 10, 2014
Market Driving Strategies London Business School Nov. 10, 2014
Developing and Implementing Marketing Strategies Melbourne Nov. 10, 2014
Business Plan - Elaboração do Plano de Negócios Saint Paul Nov. 10, 2014
Estatística para Tomada de Decisão em Marketing Saint Paul Nov. 10, 2014
Strategic Marketing Analytics: Leveraging Big Data Virginia - Darden Nov. 10, 2014
Key Account Management IAE Business School Nov. 11, 2014
Business and Bagels: Developing a Social Media Strategy for Your Organization MSU - Broad Nov. 11, 2014
Développer sa Présence sur les Réseaux Sociaux KEDGE Nov. 14, 2014
Social Media: Strategies for Success McMaster - DeGroote Nov. 14, 2014
Strategic Marketing Essentials Wharton Nov. 16, 2014
Strategic Social Media Marketing Northwestern - Kellogg Nov. 16, 2014
Pricing: Decidere il prezzo SDA Bocconi Nov. 17, 2014
Fondamentaux du Marketing KEDGE Nov. 17, 2014
Driving Business Performance Through Marketing UT Austin - McCombs Nov. 18, 2014
Marketing and Innovation Columbia Nov. 18, 2014
Essentials of Marketing Erasmus - RSM Nov. 18, 2014
Marketing Directors' Programme: Leading Profitable Growth in your Organisation Cranfield Nov. 18, 2014
Advanced Digital Media Strategies: Embracing the Digital Future IESE Nov. 19, 2014
Strategic Brand Management & Product Marketing York - Schulich Nov. 19, 2014
Search, Social & Mobile SDA Bocconi Nov. 20, 2014
Corporate & Marketing Communication SDA Bocconi Nov. 24, 2014
Managerial Leadership in Sales and Marketing Lagos Nov. 25, 2014
Marketing: Innovative Marketing Approaches for Creating Customer Value and Driving Profitable Growth Queen’s Nov. 25, 2014
Canali Digitali e Nuovi Paradigmi di Marketing MIP Nov. 27, 2014
Creating Winning Brands Cambridge - Judge Nov. 27, 2014
Strategic Business-to-Business Marketing Vlerick Leuven Nov. 28, 2014
Pós-MBA FDC/Kellogg FDC Nov. 30, 2014
Strategic Marketing Programme INSEAD Dec. 01, 2014
Consumer Analytics MIP Dec. 02, 2014
Consumer Analytics MIP Dec. 02, 2014
Social Media and Digital Marketing for Business NYU - Stern Dec. 03, 2014
Trade Marketing MIP Dec. 03, 2014
Product Management Vlerick Leuven Dec. 04, 2014
Successful Marketing Strategies for High-Tech Firms Cambridge - Judge Dec. 04, 2014
Strategic Marketing Management Chicago - Booth Dec. 08, 2014
Strategic Business-to-Business Marketing Vlerick Leuven Dec. 08, 2014
Brand Leadership: Strategies for Driving Growth in a Global Marketplace Wharton Dec. 08, 2014
Digital Marketing Strategy Week Columbia Dec. 08, 2014
Digital Marketing Strategy Columbia Dec. 08, 2014
Product Management UC Berkeley - Haas Dec. 08, 2014
Digital Marketing Strategy II Columbia Dec. 11, 2014
Measuring Marketing ROI: Making Highly Profitable Marketing Decisions York - Schulich Dec. 15, 2014
Customer Driven Marketing — India Wharton Dec. 16, 2014
Advanced Account Management and High Yield Selling York - Schulich Dec. 18, 2014
Il Business Plan per l'Internazionalizzazione MIP Jan. 13, 2015
Strategic Marketing Management NUS Feb. 02, 2015
Product Management UC Berkeley - Haas Feb. 09, 2015
Marketing Management: Planning Tools for Success Wisconsin Feb. 11, 2015
Marketing Alberta Feb. 18, 2015
Certificate in Marketing Grenoble Feb. 23, 2015
Product Management UC Berkeley - Haas Mar. 16, 2015
Strategic Marketing in Action IMD Mar. 23, 2015
Marketing électronique : développer une stratégie Web intégrée qui va du mobile aux médias sociaux HEC Montreal Mar. 24, 2015
Creating a Culture of Innovation Wisconsin Mar. 30, 2015
Strategic Marketing in Action IMD Sep. 28, 2015
And indeed, Keller says that each topic generally draws a distinct group of participants: marketing people are more interested in the branding side, whereas the reputation content tends to attract those who work in corporate communications. This creates a dynamic environment where participants can learn from the course, as well as from each other.
“It broadens them, because they tend to focus on one of the two sides, and the other side is relatively new,” Keller says.
And beyond that, participants in these programs might find that they'll get a dose of practical experience, from which they can learn how to deal with real issues. In the Dartmouth program, attendees are encouraged to bring in their own branding and reputation issues, to discuss with the group. Likewise, in the DeGroote course, attendees participate in a mock media interview, where they can assume the role of an executive whose firm is currently in the midst of a crisis.
“This exercise and the discussion that follows demonstrates the fragility of corporate reputation, and the need to be prepared for any eventuality,” according to Barry Kuntz.
While everything #changes, everything remains the #same
As the news cycle is described in shorter and shorter time frames, the need to be prepared for any eventuality is becoming increasingly important. Just look at the social media team at Tesco, who, while the company was managing fallout from a scandal involving horsemeat last year, forgot to turn off its auto-Tweets. One unfortunate Tweet read “It's sleepy time so we're off to hit the hay! See you at 8am for more #TescoTweets."
But as pointed as this case may be, it also highlights the need to have a well-defined strategic approach in place to prepare for and manage these kinds of possibilities. 
“So many things have changed,” says Dartmouth's Kevin Keller, who notes that new technologies, along with globalization, and an increased awareness of social responsibility, are three main forces that are currently affecting marketing.
“Those are three powerful forces, and they have definitely affected how we do branding.”
However, in the face of these larger shifts, the fundamental marketing concepts – like segmentation, targeting, and positioning – haven't changed, and are still as important as ever.
“Without the strategy side in place, it's going to be difficult to be successful, no matter how good you are tactically,” Keller says.
Photo: RelyAble / Creative Commons
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