Branding Myths


By:  Larry Checco

This article consists of questions I am frequently asked in my branding workshops. For style purposes, I have converted the questions into "myths." How do these myths compare with your understanding of what good branding is all about?

Myth #1 
Marketing and branding are one and the same.

Branding is less about marketing, advertising and public relations, and more about good leadership, appropriate and ethical behavior and an organization's commitment and ability to fulfill the covenant, or promises, i'ts brand represents. A brand reflects everything associated with an organization, including, but not limited to, the quality of it's:

  • Work

  • Reputation

  • Leadership

  • Staff

  • Culture and core values

  • Programs, services and products

Think of it this way. The brand characteristics you appreciate and admire most in the companies and organizations you like doing business with should be the same brand characteristics to model and nurture in your own organization.

Myth #2
Once we have an attractive logo and catchy tagline, we have our brand.

Many organizations spend an inordinate amount of time, energy and money developing logos and taglines believing they are creating their brands, when in fact a logo and tagline are simply the banners for the brand. Your brand drills much deeper into the core of your organization (see Myth #1).

If all you have is an attractive logo and tagline without the commitment and ability to fulfill whatever promises your brand conveys, then what you have is all sizzle and no steak--and it will not take long for your target audiences to see the smoke and realize there is no meat.  

Myth #3
Branding is the responsibility of our communications/marketing/public relations/external affairs departments.

Branding is the responsibility of EVERYONE, from board members to support staff. If it helps, consider the person who answers your phones your "Director of First Impressions."

You might hear, "I work in finance. What does that have to do with branding?" Just ask the folks who worked for Enron, Arthur Anderson, World Com, Global Crossing and a slew of other for-profits and non-profits, alike, how much their finance folks had to do with their organizations' brands--and their livelihoods!

Myth #4
We don't have a budget for branding our organization.

If you effectively leverage your current resources--namely your board members, staff, volunteers, customers, etc.--you may not need much of a budget to better brand your organization.

Your brand is only as good as the people who live it day in and day out. Board members, staff and others who are knowledgeable about what your brand represents, take pride in their work, feel secure in their jobs and are appreciated for the good work that they do will make excellent Ambassadors for your brand.

Consider: The founders of both Google and relied exclusively on word of mouth to get their companies off the ground. 


By:  Larry Checco

© 2015 Alliance Training and Consulting


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