Branding is the Most Powerful Yet Least Understood Business Strategy


Brands are about feelings and not facts. This is why businesses still struggle to grasp why people are drawn to some brands and not to others.

In large part, business schools neglect to teach the most critical elements of creating a strong brand: the psychological and emotional aspects. Instead, MBA programs teach data analytics—unquestionably a good thing—but data tell us what is happening but rarely why. This tends to obscure the human element so we end up drowning in data and starving for insights about what to do with it. And, we end up believing we can create brands utilizing rational messages based on product claims.

In today’s crowded marketplace, very few people have the time or the inclination to search through product claims. Acceptable performance is the price of entry. Product parity is the norm. More than a decade ago, the auto ratings company, JD Power, declared there is no such thing as a bad car—they’re all good.

Commoditization of everything diminishes the risk of inferior products. There are simply too many acceptable choices to sort through for people to make truly informed purchase decisions. This is true even in technology and business-to-business market segments where logic argues that only superior product specifications drive purchasing choices.

This paradox of choice prompts people to make buying decisions based on brand promises that transcend products—promises rooted in human emotions. It’s all about feelings, not facts, and it’s all about things that happen in the brain. It’s about vision and creativity in managing the brand and in building trust by keeping your promises. It’s looking outward toward your customers, not inwardly toward your products and services. It’s trying to find a meaningful difference that will set your brand apart within its category. It’s thinking less about what you do and more about what your customers want. It’s about the fact that a strong brand is the most difficult thing for a competitor to copy and the most valuable asset an organization or a business can possess.

We would love to hear how your brand is keeping promises to customers? And how is your brand meaningfully different from others in your category? Please share here or on Twitter and tag your tweet with #HowDoesItMakeYouFeel or simply, #HDIMYF.

Daryl’s new book, How Does It Make You Feel? Why Emotion Wins The Battle of Brands, is now available for purchase digitally on and print versions will be available December 2013. Follow HDIMYF updates on Twitter @BTCEO and @Brandtrust®!

Does your brand need to become meaningfully different from your competitors? Contact Brandtrust® today.

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