A recent Ad Age article on Jonny Bauer, global head of brand strategy and transformation at Blackstone a huge private equity firm, was quoted as saying:
“We don’t think of a brand as your identity or your name,” Instead, a brand is really the product of strategy and purpose “to define the existence of why this company exists.”
While I agree with the first part of the statement, I take issue with latter part, it “defines the existence of why the company exists.”
Mr. Bauer and Blackstone see branding much the way I do, as business strategy. When he is allowed in the C-suite of companies, not just relegated to CMOs, he is learning about all the business factors contributing to success: debt, legal, assets, culture, supply chain and purchase context. When designing brand strategy, all these things must be accounted for. The brand claim needs to speak to most everything. As must the proof planks (the science groupings supporting the claim.) This ain’t no disco. This ain’t no fooling around.
A lot of people may agree they want “happiness” when they buy a Coke, but they really want “refreshment.”
All this talk about brand purpose and brand intention is silly. Those are outcomes of good commercial branding. If you want to be intentional, go the non-profit route.
Blackstone and Mr. Bauer get the fact that good branding is the best way to get good marketing. And good marketing (all four Ps) begets good sales. And it starts with strategy. Brand strategy. Tied to business strategy. I deal in customer care-abouts and brand good ats. Not intentions.