When I say Nike, what does that mean to you?

Or Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Apple?

These are brand names.

So what exactly is a brand anyway?

Phil Knight, founder of Nike, says:

“A brand is something that has a clear-cut identity among consumers, which a company creates by sending out a clear, consistent message over a period of years until it achieves a critical mass of marketing.”

Nike is one of the first companies that majorly began investing in paying athletes to represent their brand. As well as venerated them almost as gods. Knowing full well that it all simply reflects back onto the Nike brand.

Sometimes you may see examples of Nike advertisements being about the product that they’re selling. Like the example below. Still presented by top English footballer, Wayne Rooney of course. Yet this branded ad is far more product based.

Far more often though, the billion-dollar branding secret of Nike is to build up athletes into godlike figures and have their brand and logo ride along. This creates trust in an indirect and really genius way.

Sometimes a company will try to associate their brand and products as a way of achieving another goal or vision the market may have. Using subtle imagery and names like the “skinny” can to represent an idea of weight loss… from drinking Pepsi? Who knew.

99% of the time however the people that are being marketing to (well, us), we don’t take a second look at the advertising itself.

But just because we only see it for a second, doesn’t mean it is not having an effect on how we view the brand. And make our purchase decisions.

What’s more on a daily basis we are inundated with continuous imagery and words from these brands. So much so that the brands actually begin to occupy a space inside our brains.

And even if we think we are impervious to these advertisements, it’s highly unlikely that any of us are.

For example even just reading the above ad even when I am fully aware it is trying to influence me… well, it still does have the desired effect.

I’m at least 3x more likely to want to buy that car now, having read that little quip.

So how do they seem to target us so precisely like that?

These are the billion-dollar branding secrets of the richest, most profitable and powerful companies in the world. It’s difficult to comprehend actually just how powerful a company like Mercedes-Benz really is.

Companies with marketing teams working night and day drilling down to what you REALLY want and then advertising that along with the car, sneakers or sugary drink.

Everyone knows that the reason men buy sports cars is because we want to pickup the girl that goes along with it. They simply market to that.

And who can blame them?

This. Shit. Works.

And provided it continues to work for branding, marketing and selling stuff, they will well, just do it…

Nowadays it’s not just big corporations using these branding secrets either. The new wave of advertisement is often embedded in content or via social media.

Like Kim Kardashian’s Instagram where she sells all kinds of third-party products to her fans as well as promotes her brand of beauty products.

And her sister Kylie Jenner

Kylie Jenner did an incredible job with branding and advertising when she launched Kylie Cosmetics and made $900 million personal profit in about 3 years.

Why is branding so important?

Good branding is what separates a product that can be sold for a small profit margin like Under Armour apparel, compared to Nike or Adidas.

Under Armour is the new kid on the block with a weak brand compared to Nike and Adidas, who have been advertising and marketing for decades.

This means that apparel companies like Nike and Adidas can routinely out price their competitors and still sell more volume, because they have a strong brand behind them.

We’ll have to see how the Under Armour brand grows against the strong competition in the market.

Currently though things aren’t looking good for Under Armour, as their stock prices plummeted. Losing 60% of their company value in the last four years since 2015

Brands becoming verbs?

Sometimes a brand gets so strong that it just becomes the verb used to talk about it. Like “Google this” used to mean, search the web.

Or grabbing a Kleenex, when you mean a tissue. Did you know that “Jet Ski” is actually the brand name for Kawasaki jet skis? Otherwise it’s just a personal watercraft.

eBay Billionaire Meg Whitman

Branding is huge and people gravitate toward brands because they trust them.

Billionaire Branding Experts

A billionaire who is very good at building a brand is Donald Trump. While Trump may get a bad rap politically… you’d be surprised how strong the Trump brand is in business. Especially internationally.

The Trump brand is so strong in fact that Donald Trump does not even risk capital in most of the Trump real estate deals anymore. Instead he simply licenses out the name of the Trump brand letting others take the risks instead.

Another major brand builder is Richard Branson who’s Virgin brand first conquered the music business, then airlines…

Then fitness, and well, then everything else…

The Virgin Group now has over 60 companies all benefiting from the rock solid Virgin brand.

They say that the Virgin name and logo have now become renowned for providing a unique and exceptional customer experience.

Going on to say that whether in banking, travel, entertainment, health and fitness or communications the Virgin Brand has become one of the most desirable brands in the world.

How to build a killer brand?

A brand is essentially the values coming off a great business.

For building a brand Mark Cuban says: “Focus on building the best possible business. If you are great, people will notice and opportunities will appear.”

And from Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran…

“The most effective way to build a brand is not by spending millions in advertising, but by finding a clever way to keep your name in the press.”

Howard Schultz the founder of Starbucks Coffee says:

“Great companies that build an enduring brand have an emotional relationship with customers that has no barrier. And that emotional relationship is on the most important characteristic, which is trust.

Another good way of looking at what a brand is. Can be summed up by this quote by Amazon.com founder, Jeff Bezos:

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person.” – Jeff Bezos

And remember: “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Jeff Bezo

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