For businesses and organizations of every size, building a successful brand isn’t about having the catchiest slogan, the coolest logo, the biggest ad campaign or even the best products or services, according to branding expert Jim Paglia.
It’s about how an organization behaves, and how people interpret and experience that behavior. So at Walt Disney World theme parks, users expect experiences that will capture their imagination; at Universal Studios, their sense of adventure.
Those were some of the themes Paglia discussed during “Creating Brands That Stand: Being Purpose-Driven, Empathetic and Disruptive,” a half-day workshop and networking event hosted on Nov. 8 by Elmhurst College.
Attended by nearly 100 local business people, Elmhurst faculty and students, the interactive workshop explored how some well-known businesses and organizations, from Nike to the March of Dimes, developed brands we’ve become familiar with, and that stand the test of time.
A brand should be purposeful—it should “explain why we do something, and why we believe it’s important,” he said. And the explanation should be persuasive, resting on behavior that is authentic, relevant and consistent. “You need to have direction; you need to know who you are and where you’re going.”
A successful brand also should be disruptive, but not destructive: “It should say to whoever you’re communicating to that ‘We’re not who you think we are.’ How can you separate yourself from others, and figure out a better way to do something?”
Finally, a successful brand needs to be empathetic to the people who experience the product or service. “It’s about them, not us,” Paglia said. “Users should see themselves in what you say and the stories you tell.
“It comes down to the people, not the product,” he said. “If you don’t relate to people, you don’t have a brand.”
Paglia is the president and CEO of Brands That Stand/In’s & Out’s, LLC. He has had a lengthy career in advertising, public relations and integrated marketing. Paglia helped rebrand the March of Dimes and led the rebranding effort at the Caregiver Action Network and the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). In addition to his for-profit client work, he has led more than 25 nonprofit boards as president or chairperson, including The Illinois Fatherhood Initiative, Chicago World Cup 1994 and PTA.
“Creating Brands That Stand” was sponsored by Elmhurst College, Pan American Bank & Trust, the City of Elmhurst and Elmhurst College Commission, the Elmhurst Economic Development Commission, and the Elmhurst Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
View the full presentation below: