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Marketing gets you likes. Branding gets you love.

By Sherwood MacVeigh

According to author Seth Godin:

“Marketing is the competition for someone’s attention…. A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer. A brand’s value is merely the sum total of how much extra people will pay, or how often they choose, the expectations, memories, stories and relationships of one brand over the alternatives.”

I tend to agree with these statements. In general, I find it simpler to remove the terms “marketing” and “branding” and instead think of it in terms of a relationship. However, as we know, relationships aren’t simple as so many factors come into play.

How do you meet friends? How do you show up? Do you share the same values? Do you believe the same things? Do you like to do the same things? What do you talk about? How do you keep your friendship fresh and fun, and ultimately worthy of investing in?

Taking it one step further, how do you teach this skillset, and what is the advantage of evolving our thinking from merely grabbing attention in-market, to better developing relationships, experiences and value between a brand and people?

Recently, California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), professor Sherry Benkin heard a talk given by myself and my colleague, Dan Barczak: Stop Counting Impressions. Make One. She asked us to share our brand philosophies and methodologies to help her class create better “relationships” that go beyond marketing.  We were thrilled to have the opportunity to share how using brand building alongside marketing tools can move a business forward by moving people.

The students at CSULB were given two different challenges: leverage market research to restage a brand, launch a line extension, or create Shark Tank pitches for a new product/service. We shared three key methodologies to help these classes (about 110 students) achieve their goals: aspirational consumer development, archetypes, and brand squares. These tools hopefully got them an A in class, but more importantly enable them to create a brand that makes lasting impressions and relationships in their new marketing or branding roles once they graduate.

Fundamentally, the ways of thinking about “Branding and Marketing” aren’t changing; rather, it’s consumer expectations, values, and beliefs that are shifting. These tools are designed to help understand how people are evolving, so you can evolve a brand using personality and expression to stay relevant.

Our involvement with CSULB this year was deeply gratifying and we hope to continue partnering with them and inspiring the future of marketing and branding.

“Thank you Sherwood MacVeigh and Dan Barczak from the Hyperquake Agency for sharing your Marketing Methodology with us at CSULB earlier in the semester! We’ve had so much fun incorporating Aspirational Profiles, Brand Squares and Archetypes into our group projects, client work and Shark Tank pitches.  Please know you inspired over 110 CSULB students to think out of the box and connect with brands on a more emotional level. Thank you for teaching us something new and giving a gift that keeps on giving.”

– Sherry Berkin, professor at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB)

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