Blog Post

5 Simple Rules of Branding

We like Harvard Working Knowledge, and today we picked up another quick post by marketing guru, John Quelch. It’s billed as “How To Build a Global Brand,” but we think his five simple rules for how to brand effectively are applicable to any startup trying to establish its name and image — globally or not. The good news here is that Prof. Quelch is cutting down your workload — in branding, it turns out that what matters most in the message are simplicity and consistency.

Professor Quelch compares the (lately) poor branding practices at Ford with the highly successful practice at Toyota to illustrate “the power of a single global brand” and how to get there.

Ford was once one of the ten most valuable brands in the world. They’re no longer on that list, but Toyota now is. How did Toyota—and the other nine companies—do it? There are five characteristics that all top global brands have in common…

Quelch’s 5 Rules for Successful (global) Brands:

1. The same positioning worldwide. (For F|R: this means in every market.) This provides a combination of functional product quality and innovation with emotional appeal. Think Coca-Cola.

2. A focus on a single product category. Think Nokia and Intel.

3. The company name is the brand name. All marketing dollars are concentrated on that one brand. Think GE and IBM. (F|R: Hewlett-Packard learned this the hard way!)

4. Access to the (global) village. Consuming the brand equals membership in a global club. Think IBM’s “solutions for a small planet.” (F|R says: replace “global club” with social network.)

5. Social responsibility. Consumers expect global brands to lead on corporate social responsibility, leveraging their technology to solve the world’s problems. Think Nestle and clean water. (Or F|R might say: think Google.)