September 24, 2012

Toyota is changing its tagline to “Let’s Go Places,” replacing “Moving Forward,” which has been around since 2004. It took six agencies to create this slogan: Saatchi & Saatchi, Dentsu America, Conill, Burrell, Intertrend and Grieco Research, according to Ad Age. A visitor and convention bureau in Southern Oregon recently spent nearly a year developing their new brand and tagline. It’s a good one. But good heavens, this is not rocket science. It’s marketing.

It’s been my observation that far too much time and money is often spent developing a brand or slogan. Save your money and spend it where it matters most: consistently promoting your brand in print, broadcast and digital.

Yes, it is critical to have a formal process for developing a brand. But the real key to a brand is how you use it, not how you develop it. How do you “payoff” and support your brand and tagline? Unfortunately, many smaller firms spend so much money developing a brand, slogan or a website, they don’t have enough money left to promote it consistently.

When I am helping someone develop a brand (this is a core service of my coaching practice), I often quote this bit of advertising lore. There was once a railroad company that wanted to develop a new ski area. They spent countless months debating what it should be called. Finally, out of frustration, someone shouted out, “I don’t care what you call it. If we have enough money to promote it, we can make it world-famous.” Angered that someone would dismiss their thoughtful deliberation, someone shot back, “Oh sure, like we could call it Sun Valley.” The rest, as they say, is history.

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