Next Executive
Articles

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:
Marketing

Program Title Offering School Start Date
Influence in Sales: Connecting Confidently Auckland Sep. 09, 2015
Research Methods and Skills MSM Sep. 14, 2015
The Big Picture: Integrating Marketing Strategy and Execution-Hong Kong Michigan - Ross Sep. 14, 2015
Digital & Social Media Marketing and Analytics IIMB - Bangalore Sep. 14, 2015
Business Essentials Calgary - Haskayne Sep. 14, 2015
Customer-Centric Marketing UT Austin - McCombs Sep. 15, 2015
Key Account Management: Best Practice Cranfield Sep. 16, 2015
Digital Marketing in Practice CEIBS - Shanghai Sep. 18, 2015
Mini-MBA™: Social Media Marketing Rutgers Sep. 21, 2015
Customers' Hidden Needs Cranfield Sep. 22, 2015
Strategic Pricing Aalto Sep. 22, 2015
Pricing for Growth CEIBS - Shanghai Sep. 23, 2015
Brand Strategy Erasmus - RSM Sep. 24, 2015
Online Mini-MBA™: Social Media Marketing Rutgers Sep. 24, 2015
Business Marketing Strategy Northwestern - Kellogg Sep. 27, 2015
Strategic Marketing in Action IMD Sep. 28, 2015
Executive Program in Marketing U Miami - Business School Sep. 28, 2015
Digital Marketing Certificate Program Notre Dame - Mendoza Sep. 28, 2015
Marketing Strategy and Planning: Defining Strategies that Deliver Growth in Sales and Profits Cranfield Sep. 29, 2015
Social Media Workshop: Generating Measurable Results UCSD - Rady Sep. 29, 2015
Digital Marketing Strategy II Columbia Oct. 01, 2015
Customer Insight Tools: Turning Insight into Effective Marketing Strategies Northwestern - Kellogg Oct. 04, 2015
Mini-MBA™: Digital Marketing Rutgers Oct. 05, 2015
The Marketing Consortium AGSM Oct. 06, 2015
Strategic Data-Driven Marketing Northwestern - Kellogg Oct. 07, 2015
Marketing Management Auckland Oct. 07, 2015
Kellogg on Branding: Creating, Building, and Rejuvenating Your Brand Northwestern - Kellogg Oct. 11, 2015
AIMS: Advanced Industrial Marketing Strategy INSEAD Oct. 12, 2015
Medical Marketing UCLA - Anderson Oct. 12, 2015
Managing Key Accounts HEC Paris Oct. 13, 2015
Marketing Strategy and Planning CEIBS - Shanghai Oct. 13, 2015
Marketing of Innovations UT Austin - McCombs Oct. 13, 2015
Essentials of Marketing Erasmus - RSM Oct. 14, 2015
Mobile Marketing: Leveraging the Screens that Matter Rutgers Oct. 14, 2015
Event Planning and Management Auckland Oct. 14, 2015
Digital Storytelling Strategy Columbia Oct. 15, 2015
Viral Video Marketing: Social Sharing Demystified Rutgers Oct. 20, 2015
Key Account Management Auckland Oct. 22, 2015
Business-to-Business Marketing Strategy Columbia Oct. 27, 2015
Driving Business Performance Through Marketing UT Austin - McCombs Oct. 29, 2015
Distribution Channel Management: Creating Go-to-Market Growth Strategies Northwestern - Kellogg Nov. 01, 2015
Brand Leadership: Strategy, Management, and Performance Columbia Nov. 02, 2015
Mini-MBA™: Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Rutgers Nov. 09, 2015
Strategic Marketing Communications: Create Powerful, Integrated Marketing Plans Northwestern - Kellogg Nov. 09, 2015
Advanced School of Marketing Research Georgia - Terry Nov. 09, 2015
International Marketing Module ESCP Berlin Nov. 10, 2015
Certificate in Marketing Excellence Georgia State Nov. 10, 2015
Advanced Digital Marketing Georgia - Terry Nov. 10, 2015
Market Validation UT Austin - McCombs Nov. 11, 2015
Employer Brand Manager WU Executive Academy Nov. 13, 2015
Pricing: Strategy and Tactics Chicago - Booth Nov. 16, 2015
Marketing Directors' Programme: Leading Profitable Growth in your Organisation Cranfield Nov. 17, 2015
Innovate on Demand: Creativity as a Skill, Not a Talent Columbia Nov. 17, 2015
Strategic Marketing Auckland Nov. 18, 2015
Strategic Marketing Programme INSEAD Nov. 23, 2015
Marketing Communications for Customer Engagement IIMB - Bangalore Nov. 23, 2015
Marketing Queen’s Nov. 24, 2015
Key Account Management: Best Practice Cranfield Nov. 25, 2015
Creating Winning Brands Cambridge - Judge Nov. 26, 2015
Strategic Marketing Management Cambridge - Judge Dec. 03, 2015
Digital Marketing Strategy II Columbia Dec. 03, 2015
Building Brand Power UBC - Sauder Dec. 03, 2015
Strategic Marketing Management Chicago - Booth Dec. 07, 2015
Mini-MBA™: Digital Marketing Rutgers Dec. 07, 2015
Fundamentals of Marketing UBC - Sauder Dec. 14, 2015
Wine Executive Program: From Grape to Table UC Davis Mar. 20, 2016
 
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
blog comments powered by Disqus