Tuesday, April 11, 2006

How To Build Sustainable Value

Bad traffic today but beautiful weather. Cannot wait to get my bicycle out.

A few weeks ago, Tom Beakbane, commented on my blog when I was talking about branding. It turns out that my Director of Marketing, Bill Reimer, knows Tom and so loaned me one of Tom's books called, "How To Build Sustainable Value". Although it is a book, it is quite short (36 pages), so even the most reluctant reader can get through it fairly quickly. Because I have a high interest in marketing and branding, I have found the book to be highly interesting and inspirational.

The book is written in a series of bullet points so is a bit like a book summary. Tough to speed read but lots of information packed in.

The main points that I got from the book are that I need to continue to be highly focused as branding is in the mind of the consumer. Tom was also good at laying out the complexity and difficulties in over simplifying branding. This said, he recognizes the value of simplicity.

One thing that I was surprised at was on the inside notes, he said, "No part of this guidebook may be copied or quoted without written permission of Tom Beakbane." This seems a bit counter-productive when someone like me wants to review it.

I did come away from reading it with the impression that Tom is a real branding and marketing pro.


At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wouldn't quoting someone be classified as "fair use"? I didn't think you could deny that privilige simply by writing that you can't quote me in your book?

At 1:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, thanks for mentioning the booklet How to Build Sustainable Value.

Yes, I agree that the sentence about not quoting and copying is counterproductive and needlessly officious. It is old-world-thinking and does not reflect my personal attitudes.

Funnily enough though, your point illustrates an oddly contradictory feature of branding touched on in a couple of your other posts.

To build a great brand you have to be clear and single-minded. For instance Patagonia is a compelling and believable brand because everything they say and do is faithful to their core values. When you read their catalog it is immediately apparent that their personnel love surfing and trek to extreme places – like Patagonia – and they depend on the equipment to keep them comfortable – and alive.

To define a clear, single-minded brand proposition and then stick to it sounds easy enough. But boy, do the details matter! Every action of every person in an organization has to reinforce the brand proposition all the time. A quick lapse of judgment is enough to weaken the brand. In my case when I used an old-world sentence in the mousetype of a booklet it was enough to diminish the value of my brand.

Companies and the people that comprise them are never simple. Every new market situation, every company and every individual within a company is unique. Everyone’s actions affect the wellbeing of the company and contribute to how the brand is perceived. While situations are never simple, communications have to be. If an audience doesn’t get the point of a message they quickly lose interest.

Building a brand – and understanding how it is done is far from simple. But communications have to be. An example is your blog. Every one of your entries is well written, focused – and therefore engaging and easy to understand.

Your blog is a valuable component of the SYNNEX brand.

At 10:35 PM, Blogger Jim Estill said...

Tom - It is clear from your comments that you really are a strategic thinker and understand brands well.

Thanks for the comments



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