Creating a Contagious Brand


If you pay attention to marketing folks for any length of time, you’ll hear about the importance of establishing your brand — a compelling brand, an authentic brand. Brand recognition is a powerful thing.

Just think for a minute how you feel walking into an important meeting with a Starbucks coffee in your hand. Now suppose time freezes for a moment. I take your non-fat grande latte and pour it into a styrofoam “Big Bubba’s Truck Stop” coffee container. Time resumes and you continue into the meeting. Would you feel the same about yourself sitting at the boardroom table with your Big Bubba cup as you would with your Starbucks cup? Probably not … and that’s the power of branding. Good branding has more to do with how you feel about yourself using a certain product or service than it does with how you feel about the product itself.

A contagious brand is one where your customers become “raving fans” and want to tell others about the product or service your brand represents. That’s what you want. Because when people choose to tell others about your brand, you can spend way less on marketing. Why? Because your customers are doing the marketing work for you!

A contagious brand is one that invites word-of-mouth advertising. There are several critical steps to creating a contagious brand, but it begins with getting your leadership team into a room and working together to create what I’ll call a “brand one-sheet” — a single sheet of paper that outlines your brand vision (your highest calling), your brand promise (which defines your target audience, category of business you’re in, and the core benefits you offer), your brand personality (why your target audience loves you), and your brand affiliation (what your customers would love to say about themselves).

In guiding companies through this contagious branding process, the one thing I hear consistently is how it helps to not only clarify a company’s focus, but to make sure that everyone on the team is aligned around the brand. The one-sheet can be used as a compass to guide you in your decision making and to ensure that all your products and services are in line with and enhance the brand.

To get noticed in our way-too-hectic, media-saturated culture, you need a contagious brand — one that your customers will not just recognize, but readily endorse and share with their friends. If you want help defining your contagious brand, contact us … we’d love to be a catalyst to make that happen.

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