Building consistent and powerful branding should be a priority for both small and large businesses alike. In fact, there are seemingly endless benefits to building and maintaining a strong brand including increased customer recognition, increased credibility and customer loyalty, and market competitiveness.
With that in mind, blogs can serve as excellent sources of information for anyone interested in creating their own brand, or simply want to deepen their knowledge on branding.
The web, however, is awash in blogs about branding.
No doubt, this is because so many billions of dollars change hands each year around the notion of brands—through agencies, technology providers, media companies, or other players in the “branding” industry.
The branding-blog glut poses two problems for anybody who’s really serious about building and maintaining a mature understanding of the topic.
First, it’s hard to separate out truly authoritative—even timeless—insights on branding from the flood of me-too thoughts on branding that clutter the web today.
Second, it’s hard to stay up to date on all the trends that are changing the art of branding as we know it today.
If you want to ground yourself in the fundamentals of the discipline of branding, give a good look at the sites below. Some will be “one-and-dones”, providing you with a quick insight. Others can serve as part of your branding reference library.
The marketing and advertising industries have histories that stem back several centuries, and yet they’re evolving at a phenomenal pace. As a result, there’s a growing amount of ambiguity and misunderstanding of even the most basic terms of art—whether in strategy, creative, execution, or deployment.
The Creative Council Research Glossary is a great place to get clear, consistent definitions for common terms of art in the disciplines of advertising, marketing, design, and branding. It’s great for when you’re writing up a marketing plan, brainstorming a creative brief, or even drafting your resume. Want to know the different uses for a clutter reel and a storyboard? This is a great place to begin.
This is another great glossary resource, produced by the Marketing Accountability Standards Board and containing close to 2,000 cross-reference marketing terms and definitions. If you are a brand manager or field marketing manager who has to juggle the nuances of online, traditional, owned, earned, and paid media environments, this is a great place to get the quick and authoritative guidance you need.
Bonus for all you students out there? The weekly email that delivers a new word each week to help you expand your context over time.
Although this organization is UK based, we recommend it here for students of the branding discipline because there is no direct equivalent in the US. The closest relatives here in the states would be the American Marketing Association and the Association of National Advertisers. But the World Branding Forum has a unique archive of brand-campaigns and brand methodologies, and as such is a great place to keep your finger on the pulse of broader trends.
Newcomers to branding often look at the end product—the commercial, the banner ad, the website, etc.—and come to the conclusion that it’s all about the creative.
But great practitioners know that underneath any piece of creative that achieves its objectives is a single, dominating insight about what makes their product truly better, and why that difference moves customers to action. This is what strategy is all about—and the content below helps us to keep the importance (and beauty) of great brand strategy top of mind.
This isn’t a blog, per se—but it’s the seminal article on brand marketing from a bonafide giant in the field. Still relevant and compelling 30 years after it was written, and well worth the 10-15 minutes it takes to sincerely digest. A classic line: “Markets and customers operate like light and energy. In fact, like light, the customer is more than one thing at the same time.” If I could put a “Start” button on the industry, this article would be it.
Launched in 2011, brandingmag takes a global perspective on the discipline of branding. Keep an eye on contributor articles regarding brand strategy, and take a moment to appreciate the way brandingmag tries to keep creative and emotive issues in balance with the near-obsessive attention these days on demand generation.
Keeping current on today’s brand strategy challenges is a lot easier, if you’ve got perspectives from active practitioners. You’ll find a rich collection of those perspectives at Branding Strategy Insider. What makes the site a useful bookmark is the site’s more rigorous editorial approach, which helps ensure that the time you spend will result in insights that are thoroughly researched and objective.
For Distributed Brands
Brands that sell through franchisees, dealers, resellers and other third-party channels face unique logistical challenges. For valuable insights on these brand-to-local issues, check out the resources below:
For most distributed brands, the In-House Agency is where the branding rubber meets the local road. The Forum’s blog is rich with perspectives and insights from in-house agency leaders on everything from optimizing workflows to elevating the perspective of in-house creative teams.
Localogy is a trade association focused exclusively on the $10 trillion in commerce that flows through distributed brands and the more than 30 million local businesses that serve as their feet on the street. Rich with research reports that can help you determine the ROI behind your brand-to-local strategy.
The folks at Pica9 have been focused exclusively on the brand-to-local challenge for close to 20 years, and have developed a rich library of case studies and perspectives that help to reduce the costs and improve the return from the entire brand-to-local ecosystem. Look in particular for insights on the technologies that drive effective brand-to-local operations, including DAM, print-templating, digital templating, local workflows, and more.