Brand Isn’t about Advertising, It’s about Experience


Conferences like the Healthcare Marketing Strategy Summit that I attended this week are always part education, part commiseration and part inspiration. That last bit is typically the role of the keynotes – someone from outside the industry comes in, preferably with a recognizable name or at least a few recognizable highlights from their resume, and gets all the attendees re-energized and excited about what we can accomplish when we return to work.

Former Starbucks and Nike marketing guru and author of A New Brand World Scott Bedbury fit the bill.

Bedbury’s talk wasn’t about new ways to approach brand-building, rather it was to remind us of the fundamentals. Your employees are the single biggest component of your experience as a service organization. And when you compromise in hiring, fail to indoctrinate your staff or don’t focus on morale – it can destroy your brand in the blink of an eye.

Here’s Scott Bedbury’s list of 15 branding tips:

  1. Remember that consumers are really not that into you.
  2. Respect consumer’s intelligence, their time, and their experiences.
  3. Respect what they’re feeling in the moment you connect with them.
  4. Respect the spandex rule – just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
  5. Avoid looking like Sybil (Schizophrenics are entertaining but they’re hard to know or trust. Be consistent.)
  6. You get what you pay for. Respect and reward those who help you.
  7. Remember that 5% of humanity is crazy and that another 5% will never be satisfied with anything you do. (The customer is not always right.)
  8. All brands need to be reinvented every now and then.
  9. I truly don’t think there was a #9, but hey, maybe I just missed it!
  10. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.
  11. Find art in everything you do.
  12. Sometimes you need to change course when it seems impossible.
  13. Unleash the human potential of your organization.
  14. Be fully present in the moments that matter most to those who matter most.
  15. Have fun.

He also shared lots of fun videos from his time at Nike and Starbucks that reinforce these points. Videos like Nike’s Walt Stack ad.

The biggest takeaway for me – brand isn’t about advertising, it’s about experience.  What you put on a billboard isn’t your brand. Your customers determine your brand based on the place, the people and the experience.

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This entry was posted in Best Practices, Design, Tradeshow/Conference by Ben Dillon. Bookmark the permalink.
Ben Dillon

About Ben Dillon

Ben’s a big picture type of guy. He loves sharing new ideas in digital marketing, keeping a watchful eye on healthcare industry trends and seeing how it all intersects. A sought-after speaker, writer, blogger and current SHSMD board member, Ben’s an influential voice in healthcare marketing, helping organizations across the country embrace online strategies to engage health consumers. Combine his industry savvy with his background in software development and you can see why he’s also an important member of Geonetric’s software team, ensuring our content management system stays a step ahead of market needs. Ben holds a master’s degree in eBusiness and strategic management from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Michigan. When he’s not traveling and evangelizing, Ben enjoys cooking with his family and playing the Big House with the University of Michigan Alumni marching band.

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