Branding is about soft power. For companies today, it’s not the hard things—tangibles
like bricks and mortar, equipment and inventories—that contribute the most to a
company’s value. It’s soft things—the brands and company reputation, the ideas and
intellectual capital, the consumer relationships and business alliances—that have the most
Like it or not, branding and soft power affect us every day because they influence how
we feel about something. Few of us make the decision to buy something after carefully
testing and considering the merits of the different brands on the market. No one goes out
and does a blind taste test of colas and then selects the one that objectively tastes best.
Even if it’s a more expensive (and consequently more considered) purchase, like a car or
a laptop, we will compare hard things like product features and performance criteria, but
we will decide based on soft things such as what the brand represents to us.
It’s the same with people. It isn’t the hard, quantifiable things, like educational
credentials, experience, and job titles that contribute the most to success. The real power
lies in harnessing soft power—strategy and tactics, image and visual identity, words and
verbal identity, visibility and reputation, and other branding ideas—all the things that will
help attract people to you.