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By Emily Soccorsy + Justin Foster

“Brand” and “branding” can often be a bit esoteric — even for brand geeks like us (not to be confused with band geeks, of course, which is a whole different form of geekery.)

Branding is especially frustrating for traditional, analytical-minded leaders who bring their own biases and history to any conversation about becoming a 21st century brand. They want to see proof. They want data. They want something they can hold in their hands and then sell.

We see their point.

Too often, branding performance metrics are thrown out the window and replaced with unmeasurable and even more esoteric terms like “reach,” “awareness” and “viral.” Ad people have learned to talk about return on investment, but rarely can actually deliver it.

At the same time, they want to work on your brand endlessly without ever examining the business you are in and how you make money.


Your brand and your business need to be held in equal measure.

If you have a strong brand, in 2017 you can likely build a business (see: Kim Kardashian and Grumpy Cat). If you have a strong business, your best investment in the future of that business is to build a brand — or rebuild a brand (see: Ford Motor Company or DeWalt).

To invest in brand and branding, you have to give left-brain leaders what they need … proof.

Here are five areas that are evidence to show your CEO, CFO or COO the power of becoming a brand – and not just an entity with a logo:

  1. Thousands (and hopefully millions) of conversations about your brand are happening outside of your walls and especially outside of ad campaigns.
  2. You have a line out the door of people talented people that want to work for your brand.
  3. Talented people leave your brand and start great companies themselves.
  4. If a business-to-business brand, your salespeople will report that it is 10x easier to get an appointment or a call back.
  5. Trade and national media are coming to you because your brand has become the benchmark for how to kick ass in modern business.

One of our very successful (and analytically driven) business owner clients said this better than we ever could. When referring to our style of branding and going to market, he said, “This is the new marketing.”

Emily Soccorsy + Justin Foster are cofounders of the intrinsic branding practice known as Root + River. Together with their defiantly different clients, they uncover then articulate the foundational elements of the brand. Then, they provide brand strategy and brand coaching as the brand is rolled out internally and externally. Obsessive about language and differentiation, Emily + Justin are also authors and speakers. Follow @rootandriver @fosterthinking and @emilyatlarge

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