Monday, March 1, 2010

For most people there’s not much training in branding. They learn it in the field.

By Mark Helfen

“For most people there’s not much training in branding. They learn it in the field.”

So says Kevin Heney, speaker at next Monday’s (March 8) SDForum Marketing SIG meeting.

Heney runs Kevin Heney Design , a consulting firm that helps businesses with their branding. He is also the founder of the Silicon Valley Brand Forum , where branding professionals discuss the challenges of branding. (Check the forums website for their next meeting, coming up on May 4.)

Heney’s presentation will cover the value of a strong brand and what branding can do for your business, how to strengthen your brand, and some of the new challenges in brand management.

Many companies do nothing to manage their brand. Some technology companies are lead by “brilliant people that are strong on technology, but not strong on branding.” Heney’s talk will explain why ignoring your business brand isn’t a good strategy.

He will bring a number of real world examples of brand positives and negatives. Although following good branding strategy, the negatives aren’t negative, just “more challenging.”

Like other areas of marketing, new technology shakes things up and changes the balance. In the case of branding, social media has changed the landscape.

“Most people underestimate the effects of social media in their brand,” said Heney, both in the positive and negative direction.

He related the story of a brand “challenge” faced by United Airlines, involving the airline, a guitar, Youtube, and potentially $180 million in value. I won’t repeat it here – you will need to show up next Monday to hear all of the details.

So come to Monday’s meeting, and start your field training on branding.


Mark Helfen is a freelance writer, journalist, and marketing consultant. He can be reached at:



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