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'The Branding Diva' visits the region to talk business
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'The Branding Diva' visits the region to talk business

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GARY | Sometimes it takes a diva to get to the bottom of the business of branding.

On Thursday that was Karen Post, aka “The Branding Diva,” who was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Business Speakers Series Luncheon hosted by Indiana University Northwest School of Business and Economics and the IU Northwest Business Alliance.

During the luncheon at the Radisson Hotel Star Plaza, Post, who earned her nickname by “being a little crazy, crazy smart, crazy creative and crazy effective,” discussed having a distinct brand for a business.

“A brand for a business is the sum for everything they do,” she said. “A brand is really what the market thinks when they meet someone from your organization at a networking event like this. At that moment, what the other person thinks, that’s what the brand is. When they’re driving on the street and one of your trucks cuts them off that’s what they feel. It’s what they expect when they decide to do business with you versus someone else. Or when they decide to hire you it’s what they expect. That’s what your brand is."

Post said it’s important to understand that everything you do adds or subtracts to your brand, which is critical and a game changer.

Post said one of her favorite “kick butt” brands is Southwest Airlines and among other things, its “Bags Fly Free” campaign.

“They were an underdog in the industry,” she said. “They did not let it get their brand down; they got it right from the beginning. They’re no longer an underdog – they’re a really serious contender and one of the few airlines that continues to make money. They picked a lane and decided who they were going to be and knew that you can’t be a great brand if you try to be everything to everybody.”

Addressing IUN business students at the luncheon, Post said starting out by having a great name like “Google” is one way to be distinct. She also recommended buying on the web a URL with their names or some form of their names if it’s taken already.

“It’s a wise investment,” she said.

Other distinctions include having a brand mark or a character like the Geico lizard and Aflac duck, or having a unique story like Chipotle.

“You’ll see a lot more businesses open up about the heart and soul of what’s in their business,” she said.

She also said to be distinct one should “deliver awesome experiences and create special moments.”

“The average one of us gets hit with some sort of branding message 5,000 times a day,” she said. “So many of your buyers tune out, so we have to figure out a way to get them to tune in.”

Post is a branding practitioner and is the author of "Brand Turnaround" and "Brain Tattoos," and is regularly featured in international news outlets like Fox Business, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Entrepreneur Magazine.

At 22 she founded an award-winning advertising agency that made her clients millions. In 1994, she founded a successful litigation communication company.

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