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May 2017

    Branding is now an essential part of any business – not just for the marketing team. Branding involves marketing, HR, compliance, finance, and all parts of any organization. Internal documents, the website, apparel, outdoor signage, social media, and the telephone greeting all need to follow brand standards including the brand voice and visuals. Marketing teams across the world are now more involved than ever making sure that the brand is well represented not just for customers but for employees as well.

    Branding hasn’t always been so prevalent in organizations. As the digital world has exploded over the last 30 years, communication across multiple platforms also has increased at a rapid speed. Branding was introduced as a means to keep all messages looking and sounding the same. This widely popular term, “branding” hasn’t always been around. What? Yes, it’s true. Branding, in the way we’re talking, hasn’t always existed. Except, of course, on the rear ends of cattle.

    So when was this new age “branding” invented?

    “Incredibly, until the end of the 80s the word “brand” was only in very limited use and the word branding didn’t exist at all until I coined it when I published my first ever book on the subject in 1985, Branding: A key marketing tool.”

    These are the words from the famous John Murphy, the man who essentially invented branding as we know it today. His philosophy is simple. Keep it simple. Branding can easily get mixed into the clutter of messaging, visuals, and overall marketing clutter. But, as John states, a brand is a product, service, or company that is different than all the rest.

    Branding a cow made them the same yet different. Branding a product or a company is just the same. But, now instead of just one farmer branding 50 cows with one (let’s call it a) logo there are thousands of people responsible for upholding one organization’s brand through thousands of spoken, written, designed, printed, digital touch points. There is no doubt that branding can get convoluted.

    The 20 most simple U.S. brands in 2017 – some are expected and some aren’t. They are intuitive and easy to understand. In order from #1: Google, Netflix,, Amazon, Amazon Prime, Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s, Trader Joe’s, Pandora, SUBWAY, KFC, USPS, Costco, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Southwest Airlines, Subaru, IKEA, Kroger, Publix.

    There is no one answer to keeping a brand simple. There is, however, the one fundamental piece of branding that John Murphy developed that are left to all of us customers, business owners, and marketers to decipher how we see fit. Simplicity. Know the business, the competition, the product, and most importantly what the client wants. Create simple, unique, and compelling messaging and visuals on the right platforms at the right time.

    “On its own, a brand can never guarantee business success; conversely, without a brand, business success may prove impossible.”

    No pressure.