[Forbes] Why Character is a Branding Essential

June 25, 2015



Russel Davies, a leading ad executive from the UK, is quoted as saying that a brand’s first job is to be interesting. While that is true, there is more than one objective when it comes to building a brand. I contend that brands must also deliver on their promises.


We’ve seen plenty examples of bad branding, but a brand approach doesn’t have to be poor for the outcome to be weak. Even great branding can lead to a less-than-wonderful outcome if the brand doesn’t convey what it has to offer.


I’m talking about brands like Vaseline, Xerox and Kleenex. In these cases, the brand may have hit the jackpot because people say things like “pass the Kleenex” instead of “pass the tissues.” That’s brand recognition, right? But it’s also brand ubiquity. When a brand gets to the point of being omnipresent, it kind of fades into the background. Though Xerox and Kleenex both made the Forbes list of top brands last year, these brands do very little to stand out. They have very little character.


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