Monday, March 14, 2011

Building Brands Roundtable Panel

Photo by Dublin Web Summit. 

The second panel at last week’s Dublin Web Summit featured Ray Nolan of Hostelworld, Breon Corcoran of Paddy Power and brand consultant Noel Toolin.

They talked around the topic of creating a brand for your start-up. The main trust of their conversation focused on elevating the audience’s thinking on brand beyond visual expression and into the realm of behaviour and culture. Very much along the same lines as the conversations I have with my clients.

I captured this (paraphrased) bullet list of opinions and ideas.

On branding
RN: Brand is everything.
RN: Build the brand upwards and outwards from your staff.
NT: Brand is behaviour.
NT: You do not have to be the best, you just have to have the best reputation.
NT: When you boil it down, this branding stuff is so simple even an engineer could do it.
RN: Your brand mark should be something you would happily tattoo on yourself.

On market share
NT: Focus on where you are not doing well and ask why are you not exceeding there. Then act on that.

On naming online services
RN: These days names need to be short, onomatopoeic and alingual. Neither too hard to spell nor too hard to guess how to spell. How would a customer in China spell your name?

On competition

NT: Who are you going to displace?
BC: Who are your future competitors?
Don't just focus on your existing competitors or just within your vertical. For example Paddy Power now has to compete with Zynga for their customer’s attention and spend. (Far more aggressive competition than street corner betting shops, I assume.)

On approaches to brand implementation
NT: If your product is truly outstanding then you can support a flexible branding approach. You have the luxury of it not always having to be about consistency. The default example is the Google home page.
BC: …although their “do no evil” motto sounds a bit dull to me.

I have been blogging some of my notes from a selection of the presentations and roundtables at the fifth Dublin Web Summit this week as I process them.