Shattering 10 branding myths

Myth #6: Acronyms are awesome. I don't know what it is with entrepreneurs and geeks in the high-tech industry, but they just love to adopt acronyms for their company names. Acronyms are terrible and to be avoided at all cost. Why? People can't remember them and there's no distinction. You have to spend a lot more dough for people to remember an acronym versus a name. Don't do acronyms unless you're IBM.

Myth #7: The more brands the merrier. Some companies have multiple company brands, product brands, service brands, technology brands, plus they do some co-branding, and they somehow think that makes sense. It's idiotic. Customers only have one brain and set of eyeballs each, so it's a zero sum game. Multiple brands split customer attention. If it's a market segmentation strategy, fine. Otherwise, less is more, unless you happen to be Procter & Gamble.

Myth #8: Viral brands need a grassroots following. Apple yes, Coke no. Snapple yes, Gatorade no. You can develop a breakout brand through grassroots word-of-mouth, mass marketing, or both. Which way to go depends on a lot of factors.

Myth #9: Social media changes everything. No, it changes some things, certainly not everything. Companies simply have to roll those real-time channels into their marketing processes and spending. Social media is a new channelwith some new issues associated with it, that's all.

Myth #10: The branding department owns a company's brands. Yes, if you've got a big company, you've got a branding department. And while those folks do manage various aspects of the brand, in my opinion, every company's brand is or should be owned by its CEO. If there's a CMO or VP of marketing, she's the brand's co-owner. And whoever's got P&L responsibility for a product line owns the product brand.

Anybody out there still think branding is fluff or confusing? Want to take me to task on any of this stuff? By all means, go for it.