Monday, November 1, 2010

Express Yourself - Boost your brand over leading brands

To boost your brand over a leading brand is no easy task, but it is possible. And, unless you are drenched in connections, you really haven't a clue what move the leading brands are planning to do next. You can look at a companies history and wonder how a Kinko's Copy turned into FedEx Office (with Kinko's Inside sign on the door). You still hear the work "Kinko's" on television because the experience Kinko's offered was very unique, genuine, and provided what you need, whenever you needed it - kinda like having toilet paper in the bathroom - Kinko's was the Shizznit!

Somehow Kinko's lost the way into billions of dollars on an assorted bath of ownerships, partnerships, mergers and whatever else keeps the CFO smiling. That said, to have a successful brand (growing, evolving, loved) you should really stop depending on the leading brands to shape your road to success. This is especially true for the small business owner because you will not have the capital to zig when you see the leading brand zig. Instead you will be in zag and freezing cold in the "What's Hot" department.

"Stop following the leader; start spending your time with pad and pencil. Yes, this is similar to vinyl records, when compared to today's mytouch-blackberry-latte-mocha generation, but the time will allow you to uncover or rediscover your brands the unique qualities."
kinko's gave away kinkoid co-workers inside a ballpoint pen (above) to build brand recognition

I had the unique opportunity to sit in a small round table discussion with the founder of Kinko's, Paul Orfalea. We were there to discuss the reasons behind Kinko's success and what to do next. Mr. Orfalea clearly defined in just a few words, how the Kinko's brand started and where it was going. It's a remarkable story to listen to and ask questions about firsthand like I did. But over the years Kinko's has taken some fascinating moves in technology. You could say Kinko's would zig while others would zag. Other companies like Copymax tried to take a larger slice of Kinko's pie but they couldn't because Kinko's had crossed over to the viral. Even the 1999 movie Office Space mentions Kinko's. Who can compete with this type of branding? It's the same when you ask for a Kleenex, now knowing that you're really using a Puffs.

The name Kinko's name came from the founder's curly (kinky/kinkos) hair, the services arrived from the founder's basic needs as a college student and provided solutions for Paul Orfalea's disabilities (Dyslexia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Boost (boast) your brands unique qualities and do not mimic those of the leading brands – don't follow the leading brands – it's far easier to be yourself than trying to be something you're not.

Gibron T. Williams, Head Honcho at Oevae Marketing Consultant, the best marketing consultants in the world – ask Google.

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