Monday, September 8, 2008

When Branding is All about Appeal

Catchy jingles, fancy packaging and captivating slogans give brands their appeal.

By Cambridge Who’s Who Contributing Author Susan Gosine

When I was a young child, I enjoyed listening to catchy product jingles. Sometimes I would jerk myself awake just so that I could hum along. When I went to the supermarket, I’d zero in on one of the brands I was familiar with and insist on only having that one. With the product clutched in my hands like a prize, I felt like I’d been visited by Santa Claus on Christmas morning.
More than three decades later, the melodies of popular jingles still chime inside my head, and I find myself reaching eagerly for the products associated with them while shopping. But it’s not just about the jingle; it’s about the brands that the jingles promote and the perception that the featured products are really the best of the lot. Such is the power of branding: it fosters an automatic acceptance of a product or service that, by the consumer’s deduction, surpasses all others.

Branding can be as effective as a dollar sale or as ineffective as cold soup in a blizzard. It’s a powerful force that influences behavior and attitude and compels consumers to pay exorbitant prices to possess the related product. It can boost or cripple a company, product or service. When thinking of branding one has to consider what appeals to consumers’ pockets, minds and egos. Branding, then, can be easily confused with marketing and advertising.

So, what exactly is branding?

In order to understand the concept of branding one must first learn what a brand is. While there are many different definitions of a brand, Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines it as, “a class of goods identified by name as the product of a single firm or manufacturer.” The American Marketing Association classifies it as “a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” It further states that “the legal term for brand is trademark,” and that “a brand may identify one item, a family of items or all items of that seller.” If used to describe a firm as a whole the preferred term is trade name. Thus, a brand can be a name, a logo, image, idea, design, slogan or jingle, owned by the company or person that conceives it.

Branding creates the foundation needed to market a brand, get it recognized and increase its profitability. Advertisers use the name, idea, logo, design and image associated with the chosen brand to formulate advertisements to convince the target audience that the product or service is the only solution that meets its needs. Branding, therefore, is designed to capture the imagination and to influence and convince consumers of their need to purchase a particular product or service. Symbols, logos, slogans and jingles are powerful branding tools. They help to assert a product or service’s position in the marketplace. Many companies and products have become household names through branding.

Philip Kotler describes branding as “a seller’s promise to deliver a specific set of features, benefits and services consistently to the buyers.” Branding, then, is only truly effective when it begins to influence consumer behavior, taste, choice and spending habits. Sometimes branding can take several years before it creates a noticeable impact in people’s psyche. This is particularly true in today’s competitive marketplace where several brands exist for each product.

In this age of technological advancement, branding holds its own on the Internet by commanding a great deal of online commerce and attention. Compelling slogans, blinking logos and mesmerizing images grace countless websites in an attempt to provoke visitors to purchase “sought after” products and services. However, branding is not truly successful until a consumer reaches casually into his pocket and purchases a product based on its packaging and appeal alone. When branding rakes in the money, that’s when it’s hard at work.

Cambridge Who's Who Contributing Author Susan Gosine


Cambridge Who’s Who member, Susan Gosine, excels in writing, ghost writing, public relations, proofreading and editing. She has extensive experience in conducting research and writing creative non-fiction, fiction and memoirs. Her writing investigates issues in health and education, crime and punishment, fashion, entertainment and other topics.

Susan has more than 20 years in the newspaper industry and has served as a journalist for three daily newspapers in Trinidad and Tobago: Daily Express, Trinidad Guardian and Newsday. Currently, she is working on her first non-fiction novel.

Susan is pursuing a Ph.D. in behavioral science and has completed coursework in communication arts at New York University. She holds a master of science in sociology from the University of the West Indies, certificate in investigative reporting from the Commonwealth Press Union, certificate in print and novel writing from the Longridge Writer's School and a certificate in screen writing from Gotham Writer's School.

Her work has been recognized with distinguished performances in journalism from Trinidad Express Newspapers, a Certificate of Excellence in Coverage of Culture from Mere Desh & National Cultural Promotions of Trinidad and Tobago and the Commonwealth Media Award for Published Works.

Articles By Susan Gosine

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"Sassy, Brassy, Direct and to the Point"

Developing Your Personal Brand is the Key Ingredient to Success

By Cambridge Who’s Who Contributing Author Jo DeMarco

Recently, I had the good fortune of reconnecting with a childhood friend. We hadn’t seen each other in an eternity and burned up the telephone lines with our first conversation in 20 years getting caught up with each other’s lives. After elaborating on where each of us was in life, we began to reminisce about the old days. I told my friend that I was certainly not surprised to learn about her travels around the world, as she was always an adventurer and loved learning and experiencing new things. In turn, she was not shocked to find out that I am now a small business owner. You were always so independent,” she said, as I explained the nature of my business as well as some of my achievements.

She then asked for my company’s website address ( and, as we were talking, looked it up online. “Oh, this is so you!” she cried out. I was a bit surprised at her reaction and asked what she meant by her comment. “Your website is exactly how I remember you, who you’ve always been. Sassy, brassy, direct and to the point, playing with words to get people thinking, very animated and entertaining and always making an impact. That’s you from the time we were kids.” she explained. Wow. I was blown away. I had never given much thought to how other people perceived me, especially as a youngster.

While designing my website, I pursued a unique look and high-quality presentation. I wanted my audience to be entertained. Although I have always been confident that I worked hard to achieve my goals and objectives, I have fretted and worried about whether or not I actually did put in enough effort. I was relieved when my long-lost friend, who is a marketing director, told me, “You’ve had a brand before any of us ever knew what one was, and it’s certainly apparent through your website. Congratulations!” This confirmed for me in an unexpected way that I had accomplished my goal.

I developed my business using what I knew, loved, held passion for and had expertise in. I also sought the advice and counsel of various professionals, but I made sure that I weighed their suggestions against my own thoughts about what I should convey through each of my products and my company in general. I wanted an extension of myself to be present in every aspect of my business. I wanted the things I stood for and have been recognized for by my family, friends and co-workers to be clear. In particular, I wanted my reputation to be visible when the public visited my website. By saying that she saw me in every descriptive word on, the childhood friend who I had not seen in many, many years convinced me that I had hit my target. The website I created successfully reflects and upholds my “brand.” It presents who I am, what I’m about and what I want to communicate through my business.

To put it in perspective, let’s play the word association game. I say KoolAid, and you think of a big red pitcher with a smiley face, right? I say Calgon, and you picture yourself relaxing in a luxurious bath without a care in the world, right? Why? Because the companies that manufacture and market these products have consciously conveyed these ideas and feelings to the public. They have built their brand and sold their products on it effectively enough, so that the very mention of their product’s name conjures up the targeted image that they intended it to.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you develop a business, manufacture a product or enhance the image that you transmit to others:

  • How would a friend or family member describe you in one word? Would their “one word” be consistent, exciting, knowledgeable, etc.? Does it match your description of yourself and how you would like to be perceived by others?

  • If there was a billboard with your picture on it, what would the tagline be?

  • What is the image you want to convey in your business and/or in your line of work?

  • What is the reputation you seek to uphold?

Today’s market is highly competitive. A key ingredient for success is having a spirited personality – a unique factor that will set you apart from the rest. Achieve that edge through your personal brand…it’s who you are.