Decoding Tomorrow:
Futurism and Foresights Today

Foresights and ideas that expand minds and inspire a change of heart.

What brand associations do you and your company conjure up?: 3 Key Branding Questions

01 Jun 2011

The world has changed and it’s a little out of whack. More 2-5 year olds now know how to play angry-birds on their iPhones than know how to tie their shoelaces, and 83% of Gen Y women have a financial plan for the future - after the age of 50 they plan to live off their partner. Disturbingly, so do 73% of male Gen Ys, too. Your future is clearly in safe hands. 


Brand Associations

In this whacky of world of technology, warped expectations, and a disconnect between the wired and personally connected realities of life, brand is increasingly becoming more important. In fact, there is a growing trend in China amongst consumers (otherwise known for their love of counterfeit goods) of travelling to Hong Kong because the brand perception and quality is expected to be much better. This is a trend that goes beyond mere consumerism, and it has started extending in healthcare and pharmaceutical tourism, too, with Hong Kong reaping the benefits of China’s fast-growing middle class’ craving for all things expensive and qualitative. 

On the coalface around the world, the idea of company and personal brands is also growing more important. More and more, leaders and organisations are understanding that they need to ‘think global / act local’ in the way they communicate their brands.

Ask yourself the following three questions about your thought leadership:

  1. What fears of my key stakeholders do I help them overcome?
  2. What frustations that my key stakeholders really hate do I help them alleviate?
  3. What secret desires that my key stakeholders harbour do I help them fulfil?

This is a good way to identify and boost your super-hero brand - your super-vision as it were.

What is it really that you want to be known for as a brand?


Thought Leadership Anders Sorman-Nilsson

If you’re a leader in an organisation and you’re thinking about how you want to lead or be perceived as a leader, or if you’re thinking out loud about your company’s brand, it’s important to bear your brand’s karma in mind.


Here are a few examples for the very pertinent branding website on brands in the aviation industry. You can see that this social media website create brand karma flowers based on the SPICE model of stakeholder management (Society, Partners, Investors, Customers, Employees) and that they trawl the web for comments in social media about your organisation's brand. The more yellow and green your brand karma flower, the more positively you are currently being perceived in social media. The darker the colours, the worse the comments.

Brand Karma

This kind of social media transparency tyranny is not only evident in off-the-cuff comments on-line though - they have real impact in the ‘real world’, too. If we focus on the aviation brands in the image, it is striking to note that the three most highly rated brands in brand karma’s rankings - Air New Zealand, Virgin and Qantas, took out two 1st Places, and one 2nd place in the recent Randstad Award for Employment Brands in Australia and New Zealand. Randstad’s ratings were not based on social media rankings however, they were based on quantitative surveys of 4000 and 7000 jobseekers respectively in NZ and Australia - in other words, the word on the street regarding employment brands was very much aligned with the on-line comments that shaped the algorithmic responses that created these brands’ karma flowers.

A good tool to map your personal thinking strengths and your communication blindspots in the context of brand is the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument, a tried and tested blue chip psychometric tool that I frequently use with thought leaders and organisations to ensure that their brands are ‘wholebrained’ and can be communicated flexibly in different markets. 


HBDI Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument

Have a quick look in the cartoons and images below and see if you can identify your own and your organisations’ thinking strengths, and how you’d communicate those as part of your next thought leadership branding strategies. 


HBDI cartoon


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