Help define the buzzword marketers love (and I hate)

Branding iron

Each January, Interbrand shares its Best Global Brands 2007 report. They’ve been doing it for years, and they do a nice job of it.

Back in 2002 we wrote an article for the Friends of Outsource Marketing entitled “The buzzword marketers love…and we hate.” Yes, the word I hated then was “branding.” I still do.

Not because of what branding is…the intention of branding is spot on. A powerful brand creates a mental shortcut that helps break through the clutter.

So, what’s our beef? Here’s what we said then:

Our problem is that people use “branding” to refer to such a wide variety of concepts and activities. It used to be a terrific-looking word. But it’s slept around so much lately, we’re not in love with it anymore.

Why is this a problem? Because many businesses have decided that better “branding” is the solution to their marketing problems. But what exactly are they thinking? A better logo? A stronger point of difference? A more integrated communications effort?

We couldn’t summon the word-police then and we can’t do it now. But we can ask you, Responsible Marketer–


Thank you for voting. Now, let’s see if things have gotten a little clearer in the last six years.