Branding Thesis # 3


Since I started blogging on branding, I have emphasized consistency and execution rather than any other stage, such as implementation.It may be because I believe implementation to be the most difficult stage in the branding process, or may be because it is here where failure hovers, this gray area between creativity and vanity.

Nevertheless, if implementation is the most difficult stage, the most important is the search for that uniqueness that will become the DNA of each brand.

Let’s think for a moment, in a world inhabited by billions of human beings with the same molecular structure, how is it possible that no two individuals are identical? Even identical twins, conceived and brought up together, show noticeable differences.

Brands, like people, are unique. There are no two identical bars of soap on a store shelf.

This is what Branding Thesis # 3 is about. Each brand has something that makes it unique and desirable. The core of the process lies in finding it.

A branding process should always start by finding that unique element. In over 20 years in this business, working side by side with many different industries, including Financial Services, Hotels, Flowers, Digital Cameras, Blenders, Dental Silk, Two Way Radios and even an Undertaker’s Memorial Park, we have come to the conclusion that each one of them has something proprietary and unique to communicate. In every situation, our job resembled that of a shrink, getting to the innermost soul of each industry, market and professional to find, led by our client, that valuable differentiator, and I am proud to admit that we always did find it.

As in every branding mumbojumbo thesis, the best way to explain it is by showing an example. During my tenure as the agency of choice for an important hotel chain in Colombia, I was requested to create a DNA for their flagship hotel. Initially, the discussion revolved around its outstanding facilities, the comfort enjoyed in its rooms (needless to say that, at $200 a night, it should be an obligation, not a quality), excellence in customer service, the professionalism of the Executive Chef, and it went on and on.

Two nights spent as a guest of the hotel gave us the clue we needed. We learnt that most of their accounts were companies in search of privacy and seclusion; we also learnt that the manager had devoted his career to strengthen his relationship with top clients through sharing their passion for the fine arts. This led us to discover that the hotel had a culture of its own, which surpassed international hospitality and was the result of a synergy between the intellectual affinity of management and clients, coupled with a very unique infrastructure. The medieval architecture of the hotel, surrounded by parks and small squares, stood proud like an English castle. Just to give you an idea, Bogota is your typical cosmopolitan capital where space is a true privilege.

And, this is how the hotel went from communicating comfort and service to positioning itself as a cultural destination that included Arts & Crafts fairs tied to a Sunday brunch; cultural exchange programs with bi-national Chambers of Commerce and evening concerts on Thursdays exclusively for corporate clients.

The Language of a Culture

The Language of a Culture

A room with a view

A Room with a View

Fifteen years after finding the soul of Hotel La Fontana, its small central square continues to be the destination of choice for hundreds of “Bogotaneans”, at least once a week.

As a branding consultant, I don’t find it difficult to reach the soul of each brand as I thoroughly enjoy the search, probably because I also enjoy listening, which is extremely important during this process.

This is how I introduce you all to my Branding Thesis # 3: Every brand and every product has something that intrinsically belongs to them and to nobody else.

Every brand and every product has to find that unique element, ensure that it is competitive and relevant and build a long-term path upon it, with consistency and creativity.

Pieces of the Puzzle

The Whole and its Parts

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September 11th, 2009 11 Comments Advertising Awards / Branding Blogging / Branding Education / Branding Thesis / Corporate Branding / Destinations Branding

  1. Vanessa

    Thanks for this post!
    By far the best!

    September 15th, 2009 //
  2. Rob

    What you did with this Hotel in Colombia is extraordinary!
    You took some ordinary and turned it into a destination, making it different from the many other hotels in the area or city.
    The art is a small thing that will stand out in people’s mind and will make a huge impact, giving the hotel better recognition and value without need for in-your-face advertising!

    September 15th, 2009 //
  3. ftpmumbojumbo

    Thank you Vane!

    September 15th, 2009 //
  4. ftpmumbojumbo

    Thank you Rob. It really became a destination. But it was the hotel that was extraordinary, all I did was find its soul.

    September 15th, 2009 //
  5. Estell

    Would you say that you found its soul or can I dare say that you gave it its soul?

    September 16th, 2009 //
  6. ftpmumbojumbo

    You are giving me too much credit. I can’t give product/services their souls. Usually the founder of the company is the one that give it its soul. That is why corporations run by their founders, such as Apple, are so clear in their vision. All I can do is I enable the search and build a strong marketing platform around that truthful value.

    September 16th, 2009 //
  7. Branding Strategy Small Business

    While doing research for branding strategy small business on Thursday your post regarding – Branding Thesis # 3 came up. Just wanted to drop a note to let you know what a great site you have. It is a great resource and a great place to drop by.

    November 5th, 2009 //
  8. ftpmumbojumbo

    Thank you for your comment. Small Business Strategist. Love to see you around

    November 11th, 2009 //
  9. Fernando Estrada

    Don’t know if you heard, but check out who stayed at La Fontana recently:ésped-ilustre-en-la-fontana.html

    Amazing right? Probably couldn’t have been possible without your input;)

    Hope all is well Ester. Loving the blog.

    June 15th, 2012 //
  10. ftpmumbojumbo

    I am sure Mr. Clinton choice of hotel was made right after he read my blog. Thanks Fernando

    June 15th, 2012 //

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