Branding in
the Digital World.
Stephen McGill, President & Creative Director
mcgillbuckley.com | @mcgillbuckley | smcgill@...
There is a great deal of talk about
brands and branding these days.
Very few people know what the hell they
are talking ab...
Far too many new brands start with
a name and logo.
They should be starting with a strategy.
Far too many brand re-development
programs are superficial.
In the end all they manage to do is put a new
shine on an old t...
81.2% of my presentation is about
branding in general.
Context is critical I think.
In the spirit of full disclosure
Perspectives on
branding
What a brand
is not
What a brand is What great
brands do
How to build
a brand
Profuse
apologies
B...
PerspectivesOn branding
The art of marketing is the art of
brand building. If you are not a
brand, you are a commodity. Then
price is everything a...
"Any damn fool can put on a deal,
but it takes genius, faith and
perseverance to create a brand.”
– David Ogilvy,
legendar...
A strong brand is a business asset
$54 Billion$104 Billion $47 Billion
Forbes.com
Strong brands can command a premium
Strong brands can overcome a crisis	

(Perhaps not two though)
(simply)…
What a Brand
is not
A brand is not simply: A name
Names don’t define people.
The same holds true for brands.
But a name can come to mean
someth...
What do these names mean?
• Nelson Mandela?
• Martin Luther King?
• Rob Ford?
• Daniel Alfredsson?
And these names?
• Google?
• WebFuel?
• General Motors?
• TheCodeFactory?
A brand is not simply: A logo
There are strong brands with weak
logos. And there are lousy brands
with award-winning logos.
A brand is not simply: A logo
Like a name, a logo must come to
mean something.
(PS: It is better to have a great logo)
A brand is also not simply:
a colour palette
a product
or service
a social
media profile
a website
an ad
campaign
a tagline
A BRAND IS ALSO
not simply:
What you say it is
“Brands are built on what
people are saying about you,
not what you are saying
about yourself.”
– Guy Kawasaki
“Your brand is what people
say about you when
you’re not in the room.”
– Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com
So, what the
heck is a brand?
In a perhaps misguided search for
meaning, I decided to search for
“brand definition” on Google?
No wonder so many people a...
Our definition of a Brand:
A brand exists in the minds of its audiences.
Quite simply, a brand is a collection of
perceptio...
Defining a brand involves:
• Being clear about what it is you do
• Determining how you are different
• Knowing why you matte...
Defining a brand is:
• Part art
• Part science
• A hair raising journey of discovery
• Always more work than you think
What Great
Brands Do
Are committed to being different.
Great Brands
Me too brands are brands without a future.
“Be yourself; everyone
else is already taken.”
– Oscar Wilde
Are willing to take a stand
based on what they believe.
Great Brands
This helps build connections… and loyalty.
"When you think of the blur of all the
brands that are out there, the ones you
believe in and the ones you remember,
like ...
Are committed to owning a
distinct position in the marketplace
and in the minds of consumers.
Great Brands
driving machine	

The Ultimate
Great Brands are
driven by a vision
Great Brands
“I want to put a ding
– Steve Jobs, Apple
in the universe.”
Great Brands
Understand that
experience drives
brand value.
"We believed very early on that
people's interaction with the
Starbucks experience was going
to determine the success
of t...
How to Build
a Brand
(Here’s a hint: don’t start with the logo)
What typically
gets in the way	

Poor support
at the senior
management
level
Superficial
thinking: the
logo and
tagline
syn...
Understand that branding
is a business process	

Corporate
Strategy
Brand
Strategy
Branding
Process
Strategic branding process
You must have an explicit understanding of where a
company or organization is now, where it wan...
Strategic branding process
It is critical to get senior people involved and onside
from the very beginning. Getting their ...
Strategic branding process
Invite opinions from a cross section of people from
different departments. These are the people ...
Strategic branding process
Make sure you know their wants and needs. Go beyond
traditional segmenting to get inside their ...
Strategic branding process
A brand vision forces you to know what you want the
brand to be and do over the long-term.
Make...
Strategic branding process
“To make people happy.”
– Walt Disney Corporation
Develop your brand vision.4
Strategic branding process
Any strong brand has to have at its core a promise that
lets people know what to expect from th...
Strategic branding process
Bruyère Continuing Care is the champion of our aging
population and those requiring continuing ...
Strategic branding process
Take a long hard look at where your brand “fits” from
your customers or market perspective.
Deve...
Strategic branding process
Develop your brand personality.7
If your brand was a person, what kind of person would it be?
D...
Strategic branding process
Develop your brand messaging platform.8
These are the words that help people understand who you...
Strategic branding process
A thoughtful, coherent and consistent brand identity system
allows a brand to a have an easily ...
Strategic branding process
Design your ideal brand experiences.10
How will you turn your brand vision and promise into
bra...
Strategic branding process
These are delivered at your brand touch points.
Design your ideal brand experiences.10
What are...
Which brings us to
Digital Branding
Digital marketing and an
increasingly digital world has not
changed what a brand is.
It has however radically changed how ...
“With digital diversification getting bigger and
with more channels appearing each quarter,
brands are going to shift from ...
What then is Digital branding?
• An environment?
• A platform?
• A format?
• A device?
(It is likely all these things
with...
• It is one of the many possible channels through which
a brand can connect.
• It is an increasingly important touch point...
• Lead with business and brand strategy, leverage with technology.
• Be where your audiences are.
• Constantly look for in...
• How will we meet our business and brand objectives?
• How will we deliver on our brand promise?
• How will we reinforce ...
• Territorialism of different practitioners.
• An overabundance of self proclaimed experts.
• Too much focus on technology ...
What excites us about
digital branding:
• An entirely new environment for building brands.
• Enhanced abilities to monitor...
What about
Canadian Brands?
Top Canadian Brands
Top Brands In Canada* Top Canadian Brands* Canada’s Most Influential Brands**
1. Disney 1. Tim Hortons ...
Canadian brands we admire
Let’s Pick A Great New Local Brand	

• Great positioning – DIY
• Fun, friendly, quirky personality
• Delivers an engaging ...
Closing thoughts.
• Be driven by business strategy and goals.
• Make sure you have an inspiring vision and a compelling promise.
• Be differe...
” When you’re going
through hell,
keep going."
— Winston Churchill
Thank you for
your time.
Any questions?
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Branding in the Digital World: Thinking Beyond Logos and Colour Palettes

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A presentation that I made to a wonderful crowd at the Ottawa Search & Digital Marketing Meetup on April 15, 2014. Terrific group of people to speak to.

Published in: Business, Technology

Branding in the Digital World: Thinking Beyond Logos and Colour Palettes

  1. 1. Branding in the Digital World. Stephen McGill, President & Creative Director mcgillbuckley.com | @mcgillbuckley | smcgill@mcgillbuckley.com Thinking beyond logos and colour palettes
  2. 2. There is a great deal of talk about brands and branding these days. Very few people know what the hell they are talking about.
  3. 3. Far too many new brands start with a name and logo. They should be starting with a strategy.
  4. 4. Far too many brand re-development programs are superficial. In the end all they manage to do is put a new shine on an old turd.
  5. 5. 81.2% of my presentation is about branding in general. Context is critical I think. In the spirit of full disclosure
  6. 6. Perspectives on branding What a brand is not What a brand is What great brands do How to build a brand Profuse apologies Branding in the digital world My upcoming brand rant Opinions expressed here are my own
  7. 7. PerspectivesOn branding
  8. 8. The art of marketing is the art of brand building. If you are not a brand, you are a commodity. Then price is everything and the low- cost producer is the only winner. – Philip Kotler, Kellogg
  9. 9. "Any damn fool can put on a deal, but it takes genius, faith and perseverance to create a brand.” – David Ogilvy, legendary Mad Man
  10. 10. A strong brand is a business asset $54 Billion$104 Billion $47 Billion Forbes.com
  11. 11. Strong brands can command a premium
  12. 12. Strong brands can overcome a crisis (Perhaps not two though)
  13. 13. (simply)… What a Brand is not
  14. 14. A brand is not simply: A name Names don’t define people. The same holds true for brands. But a name can come to mean something.
  15. 15. What do these names mean? • Nelson Mandela? • Martin Luther King? • Rob Ford? • Daniel Alfredsson?
  16. 16. And these names? • Google? • WebFuel? • General Motors? • TheCodeFactory?
  17. 17. A brand is not simply: A logo There are strong brands with weak logos. And there are lousy brands with award-winning logos.
  18. 18. A brand is not simply: A logo Like a name, a logo must come to mean something. (PS: It is better to have a great logo)
  19. 19. A brand is also not simply: a colour palette a product or service a social media profile a website an ad campaign a tagline
  20. 20. A BRAND IS ALSO not simply: What you say it is
  21. 21. “Brands are built on what people are saying about you, not what you are saying about yourself.” – Guy Kawasaki
  22. 22. “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com
  23. 23. So, what the heck is a brand?
  24. 24. In a perhaps misguided search for meaning, I decided to search for “brand definition” on Google? No wonder so many people are confused. I found 127,000,000 results.
  25. 25. Our definition of a Brand: A brand exists in the minds of its audiences. Quite simply, a brand is a collection of perceptions, feelings and experiences around a particular company, product, person, service or cause.
  26. 26. Defining a brand involves: • Being clear about what it is you do • Determining how you are different • Knowing why you matter to customers • Understanding the emotional connection
  27. 27. Defining a brand is: • Part art • Part science • A hair raising journey of discovery • Always more work than you think
  28. 28. What Great Brands Do
  29. 29. Are committed to being different. Great Brands Me too brands are brands without a future.
  30. 30. “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde
  31. 31. Are willing to take a stand based on what they believe. Great Brands This helps build connections… and loyalty.
  32. 32. "When you think of the blur of all the brands that are out there, the ones you believe in and the ones you remember, like Chanel and Armani, are the ones that stand for something. – Ralph Lauren
  33. 33. Are committed to owning a distinct position in the marketplace and in the minds of consumers. Great Brands
  34. 34. driving machine The Ultimate
  35. 35. Great Brands are driven by a vision Great Brands
  36. 36. “I want to put a ding – Steve Jobs, Apple in the universe.”
  37. 37. Great Brands Understand that experience drives brand value.
  38. 38. "We believed very early on that people's interaction with the Starbucks experience was going to determine the success of the brand.” — Howard Schultz, Starbucks Great Brands
  39. 39. How to Build a Brand (Here’s a hint: don’t start with the logo)
  40. 40. What typically gets in the way Poor support at the senior management level Superficial thinking: the logo and tagline syndrome Company realities and brand vision do not match Closed or dysfunctional culture Resistance to change Not making the hard decisions Not getting buy-in along the way An inward focused point of view Micro managing the process Not knowing your audiences Viewing branding as an expense not an investment
  41. 41. Understand that branding is a business process Corporate Strategy Brand Strategy Branding Process
  42. 42. Strategic branding process You must have an explicit understanding of where a company or organization is now, where it wants to go and how it plans on getting there. Be clear on the short and long-term business goals 1
  43. 43. Strategic branding process It is critical to get senior people involved and onside from the very beginning. Getting their input, support and buy-in is a must on your to-do list. Understand who the key stakeholders are. 2
  44. 44. Strategic branding process Invite opinions from a cross section of people from different departments. These are the people who know the customers and help deliver the brand experience. Involve a wide spectrum of stakeholders.2a
  45. 45. Strategic branding process Make sure you know their wants and needs. Go beyond traditional segmenting to get inside their hearts and minds. Can your brand connect with them? Will your brand resonate with them? Understand who your audiences really are. 3
  46. 46. Strategic branding process A brand vision forces you to know what you want the brand to be and do over the long-term. Make it simple enough for your customers and your people to get it, remember it and embrace it. It can often be the corporate vision – unless that was written by a committee. Develop your brand vision.4 – unless that was written by a committee.
  47. 47. Strategic branding process “To make people happy.” – Walt Disney Corporation Develop your brand vision.4
  48. 48. Strategic branding process Any strong brand has to have at its core a promise that lets people know what to expect from the brand. It could be results achieved, an experience or acting in a certain way. It must be relevant to your target audiences. And it must never be broken. Develop your brand promise.5
  49. 49. Strategic branding process Bruyère Continuing Care is the champion of our aging population and those requiring continuing care. - a McGill Buckley client Develop your brand promise.5
  50. 50. Strategic branding process Take a long hard look at where your brand “fits” from your customers or market perspective. Develop your brand positioning.6 What Is Your Brand For? Who Is Your Brand For? When Is Your Brand For? Who Are Your Competitors?
  51. 51. Strategic branding process Develop your brand personality.7 If your brand was a person, what kind of person would it be? Developing a brand personality helps to create a human side to your brand and makes it easier for “people” to connect and identify. Masculine or feminine? Underdog or big dog? Casual or formal? Serious or humorous? Plays by the rules or breaks the rules? City or country? Traditional or contemporary?
  52. 52. Strategic branding process Develop your brand messaging platform.8 These are the words that help people understand who you are, what you do, how you are different and why you matter. Key Messages BenefitsPositioning Stories
  53. 53. Strategic branding process A thoughtful, coherent and consistent brand identity system allows a brand to a have an easily recognizable visual presence. It should be driven by all the work done to date. Develop your brand identity system.9 Logo ApplicationsName Standards
  54. 54. Strategic branding process Design your ideal brand experiences.10 How will you turn your brand vision and promise into brand-building customer experiences? Think of how and where your customers come into contact with your brand?
  55. 55. Strategic branding process These are delivered at your brand touch points. Design your ideal brand experiences.10 What are all your brand touch points? What can you do to leverage them? Everyone plays a role in brand experience. It should be constantly evolving. “You cannot NOT have a user experience.” – Lou Carbone
  56. 56. Which brings us to Digital Branding
  57. 57. Digital marketing and an increasingly digital world has not changed what a brand is. It has however radically changed how a brand is discovered, delivered, perceived and experienced.
  58. 58. “With digital diversification getting bigger and with more channels appearing each quarter, brands are going to shift from "Should I be here?" to "What should I do now that I am here?" Success will be linked to how well the brand can differentiate itself and the levels of emotional engagement it can create.” – Robert Passikov, Consumer Experience Guru
  59. 59. What then is Digital branding? • An environment? • A platform? • A format? • A device? (It is likely all these things with more to come) }
  60. 60. • It is one of the many possible channels through which a brand can connect. • It is an increasingly important touch point for brands. • It can be a driver of customer perceptions and experiences. • More than ever digital is the first encounter with your brand. Our view on digital branding
  61. 61. • Lead with business and brand strategy, leverage with technology. • Be where your audiences are. • Constantly look for insights. • Engage, experiment, evolve. • Beware of the digital disconnect. Our approach to digital branding
  62. 62. • How will we meet our business and brand objectives? • How will we deliver on our brand promise? • How will we reinforce our brand positioning? • How can we deliver brand experiences? • How can we deliver our brand personality? A few digital branding questions:
  63. 63. • Territorialism of different practitioners. • An overabundance of self proclaimed experts. • Too much focus on technology at the expense of strategy. • An overinflated estimate of its value (perhaps). • Too much emphasis on price as a benefit. A few digital brand concerns:
  64. 64. What excites us about digital branding: • An entirely new environment for building brands. • Enhanced abilities to monitor brands. • Direct connections with brand audiences.
  65. 65. What about Canadian Brands?
  66. 66. Top Canadian Brands Top Brands In Canada* Top Canadian Brands* Canada’s Most Influential Brands** 1. Disney 1. Tim Hortons (10) 1. Google 2. Lego 2. Westjet (16) 2. Facebook 3. Johnson & Johnson 3. McCain Foods (18) 3. Microsoft 4. Rolex 4. Canadian Tire (28) 4. Apple 5. Nestle 5. Jean Coutu (32) 5. Visa *Source - canadianbusiness.com (scores are based on trust, admiration, respect, good feeling and overall esteem) ** Source – Iposos Reid Research
  67. 67. Canadian brands we admire
  68. 68. Let’s Pick A Great New Local Brand • Great positioning – DIY • Fun, friendly, quirky personality • Delivers an engaging brand experience • Great products (a matter of taste) • Understands brand touch points
  69. 69. Closing thoughts.
  70. 70. • Be driven by business strategy and goals. • Make sure you have an inspiring vision and a compelling promise. • Be different and be clear. • Don’t overlook the power of personality and experiences. • Get yourself a really nice logo! Want to develop your brand?
  71. 71. ” When you’re going through hell, keep going." — Winston Churchill
  72. 72. Thank you for your time. Any questions?
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