The mystical power of “brand”

branding, personal brand, employer brand

In a previous blog, we defined this most difficult of words, “marketing”. If you ask somebody to define this word, the general response would be ways of marketing, such as digital, the four P’s and so on. But this is not a definition. Those are just some of the methods.

The best definition of marketing I ever heard and have now embraced, courtesy of a colleague, Prof Paola Podesta of Medellin, Colombia is, “The art of winning the minds of people to have unconditional love for your offering.”

If we look at this definition, two companies seem to excel at achieving this: McDonalds and Apple.


The mystical power of brand is amazing and hard to quantify.

There is an old saying, “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM”. There is a lot of truth to that and for good reasons. When large companies look to purchase equipment that may be vital to the functioning of their business what they want, apart from “fit for purpose” is surety.

This surety takes a number of forms:

1. These are the biggest with a history of survival and success.
2. It’s a safe decision.
3. I am protecting my job in selecting one of the “big boys”.
4. They will still be here tomorrow to support me.

These brand decisions are powerful and perhaps justifiable drivers. A good example of this was in Australia when the last National Census was undertaken. The contract to deliver the IT services was given to one of the major software providers. From all accounts, on census night despite the best assurances, the internet was clogged and the outcome was a reported disaster. But most likely the choice by those in Government to us a major brand may have saved their jobs.

Valuing Brand?

There have been many studies on this subject but nothing concrete emerges. For example, how do you value a ROLEX mechanical watch when a $5.00 quartz watch from the local service station most likely keeps better time and never needs to be serviced?

Mercedes Benz was once a statement of wealth. Mercedes has now commoditised its range and brand with models now affordable by most. Mercedes are trading on their brand equity, only the future will tell if this dilution of their status will ultimately be for the good.

Finally, airlines. Reportedly, American Airlines saved 643,000 litres of fuel annually when they switched to a lightweight paper for their in-flight magazine. Yet for many years American Airlines aircraft were largely unpainted, now they are almost universally painted all over adding more than one ton of weight to each, just to signal a brand. QANTAS and pretty well all airlines do the same.

Brand is vital. Protect it carefully and make sure that every customer experience is a good one. Word of mouth marketing is the most powerful brand builder you will ever find.

Roger La Salle,