You may not know this, but our Managing Partner, Manuel Torres, started his career at Intel, working as part of the team that took Intel from a niche market known among computer engineers to a Top 20 global brand. In the following piece, Manuel shares his knowledge on branding for businesses of all sizes.
By Manuel Torres, Managing Partner, AlphaGraphics San Francisco
Establishing a powerful company brand is heavy lifting and a long term quest. But it’s absolutely critical to any sustainable business. Whether it’s the corner dry cleaning store, or a worldwide mega company, you must establish a long-term competitive position with a distinct and recognizable brand. The brand begins and ends with the brand promise; what do you stand for and what will you deliver in the mind of the client? Achieving a successful brand will enable you to command premium pricing, or maintain market share in a down or extremely competitive market.
When I was at Intel and headed up international brand development at the genesis of the Intel Inside program, I was in charge of our brand development for 25 countries. Prior to our “ingredient branding” campaign, we were only known among computer engineers. The company faced a strategic inflection point as defined by Andy Grove, my boss’ boss and a company co-founder. He and the company committed its livelihood and made the financial commitment to become a worldwide mega brand. Not all countries were created equal. In Japan, I had about $100M to spend, including TV, print, and customer co-op marketing funds. In Indonesia, we “only” had about $400K. Regardless, we defined our brand promise, applied it consistently worldwide and were successful around the world. By the early 2000s, we were a Top 20 global brand.
You don’t have to spend billions of dollars to establish a brand. For the corner dry cleaning store, it’s about defining your service commitment, your individual personality (hopefully related to being friendly and efficient), and doing things everyday that make the brand come to life. Likewise, for up-and-coming brands – my print and marketing business serves many up-and-coming Tech 2.0 startups – you must have a stubborn zeal to define and execute that brand promise from Day One. In this case, it’s usually not about media spend — it’s about how you define and design your product.
Yesterday, I attended a seminar by Indeed.com, now the world’s leading search engine for jobs. Their single-minded focus is to become the most useful job search site for JOB SEARCHERS; subsequently with that brand position in place, EMPLOYERS will have not choice but to jump in. And it’s working. These principles apply to a company of any size