I recently shared a few videos on How to Build a Brand’s Facebook page about how to choose a peer group that supports your personal brand and your corporate brand. It’s a brand marketing strategy, really:  You are the sum of the company you keep.

Let’s talk about how this mind-set can benefit your brand marketing strategy through the brand associations you make.

Brand Associations: A Brand Marketing Strategy

Your values:  How to Build a Brand has spoken about them many times before, and we are adamant that your values are the foundation on which your brand is built. These are the qualities that define you, as well as the qualities you most want to see in action in the world.

You use your personal values to choose a supportive peer group, and now I’d like to suggest that you use your values to choose brands that your brand will hang out with.

The 2014 Olympic Games are about to begin. Historically, the games’ brand has not allowed for sponsors to advertise in Olympic venues and the Olympic brand does not name sponsors in Olympic campaigns. You’ll see advertising spots in which brands tout their Olympic sponsorship, but this is done with their own resources. You may also notice that non-Olympic sponsors position their ads amidst the games’ broadcasts. Being an Olympic sponsor comes with a hefty price tag and ads during Olympic breaks aren’t cheap, either. So what compels brands to clamber for a chance to be associated (if only in the minds of consumers) with the Olympic Games? Simple: they want to build their brand using the momentum, the values, the perceptions, and the emotions that the Olympic Games stir in all those who cherish what they have to offer. And yes…did I mention global exposure?

This brand marketing strategy can be ingenious, if executed using a fair assessment of your own brand’s values. McDonald’s endured a great amount of criticism for aligning its brand with the Olympic Games. Why? Because the Olympics is about superior physical fitness and health, among other values that might not align with the fast-food industry.

Nike, however, did a great job of associating its values (which are similar to those of the Olympics) during the London 2012 games. Not only did the sportswear brand employ the worth of past Olympians, they enticed current Olympians to wear the Nike logo outside Olympic competitions. Adidas was an official 2012 games’ sponsor, but Nike managed to outshine Adidas through clever placement, value sharing, and social media marketing.


Include Brand Friends in your Brand Marketing Strategy

What brands have you admired? Which brands demonstrate the values that you hold most dear? Follow those brands; emulate them. Put your brand in the places where that brand’s clients are hanging out. Caveat: I’m not talking about brands that present direct competition in this instance, but rather those brands that offer a different product supported by values that are similar to your own.

Your brand marketing strategy is your plan for building a brand that IS what you want to see in the world. One way to accomplish this with expediency and effectiveness is to associate your brand with others that have done what you wish to do. Just as I recommend that you surround yourself with people who will promote your success, I suggest that you surround your brand with other brands that will do the same.

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