There's been quite a bit written and said about branding recently. Jim Butler and Thomas Engel give us some great insight on Jim's Hotel Law blog, Tom Peters riffs about Time's Person of The Year and his Brand You message, and we batted around the Why Go Independent? subject on last week's name a few.

Here are my own key points on the subject of branding:

  1. Like marketing, branding is not something you stick on your product or service after the fact to get people to recognize it.
  2. Rather, it 's everything you do from the the moment the idea surfaces to the point you take it off the shelf...and everything in between.
  3. Branding is not just a name or a logo.
  4. Branding happens to everything and's a never ending process.
  5. The person who interacts with you defines your brand in their terms...and owns it.The most common mistake in branding is not understanding my first point.
  6. The power of a brand has very little to do with having a lot of something and advertising the heck out of it.
  7. The power of a brand has everything to do with being different and being the best at something.
  8. Most companies, including almost all of the hotel chains, have no clue what that something is.
  9. And, most don't have the passion or the patience to be the best at any one thing....they try to appeal to everyone. And, they try to do it fast.
  10. The key to successful branding is not growth...or, to focus on growing.
  11. The key to successful branding is to develop something meaningful and remarkable...and to share it with people who want it.

Overall, I think Donald Trump sums it up best (thanks again to Jim Butler for the pointer)...

“I’ve worked hard to make sure the Trump name is found only on buildings of the highest caliber and products of the finest quality. I won’t even consider giving my approval to anything unless I know it’s the top of the line because when people see or hear “Trump,” they expect the best. That’s just basic marketing and good business.”

Please share your thoughts on this important...and highly debatable subject.