Creating Iconic Brands

Creating Iconic Brands

Nike.  Apple.  Facebook.  Google.  Some brands just make it big. So big, in fact, that the brand name goes before the product does.  And to some extent, they become a household name.

How can you create such an ideal brand that’s synonymous with all the good things you wish to be, like quality, luxury or perhaps dependability?  Can you build a clear, strong, stylish, unique image for your brand? Can you give it such a unique personality that it gains a specific, clear, appealing meaning in spite of the brand clutter plaguing most markets?

Logos and names do matter. But brands are really defined by how people experience them. What matters most is not what the brand says, but what it does, how it behaves.

Here are a few thoughts you can think about in making that iconic brand for your company:

First and foremost, BE UNIQUE, and stand out.   Great brands achieve a high level of individuality and speak to a person rather than to the entire market.

There is a tendency among some, even at the most illustrious business schools, to treat the term ‘iconic’ as a trendy synonym for successful mass‐market brands. Iconic brands are unique, special, distinctive, and have very strong and appealing personalities. They have the kind of recognition that iconic movie actors or singers have.

Can you brand your product like a rock star?  Or, a movie matinee idol?  That’s what you want to strive for as you build an iconic brand.  Give it a unique personality and a highly distinctive voice, then be true to its personality and voice no matter what.

In iconic branding, the brand’s identity trumps everything else in the marketing plan. Don’t extend an iconic brand too far, for example, or you’ll water down its meaning and lose the special boost in sales and loyalty that your iconic status confers.

BE CLEAR. Refrain from speaking jargonese and from talking manufacturer. If your positioning statement uses acronyms, chances are most people won’t understand your branding, and your branding won’t last very long. Example, “Best DVD Copier” presumes that people understand what “DVD” and “Copier” mean. Ten years from now, who knows if DVDs would still matter. Here’s a good tip for you to try: If your parents get your positioning, then chances are, it’s good.

BE POSITIVE – When creating a brand, make sure that it is established on positive attributes like “doing good things,” or “being a catalyst for change.” Don’t try to create a brand that is focused on beating or damaging your competition. Make sure that your brand promotes happy thoughts. No one would want to buy a product that is majorly focused on hurting its competition. If you want to beat your competition, establish an uplifting brand

Consistency is key. Think of one message and work on it. Many companies commit the mistake of coming up with more than one message because they‘re afraid of being niched and want the entire market for themselves. “We sell the best high-end phones, and the best ones for the budget-conscious.” Let’s face it. You have to cater to a specific market, one brand at a time. This is the reason why big companies try to come up with multiple versions of the same product, so they can brand it for a specific market.

Building a personal brand requires a lot of time and consistency, the latter of which is a critical element to the brand’s success. Being consistent is what builds familiarity and trust in the minds of others and demonstrates that you are very serious about your business and it’s image.

By not being consistent, you may appear to be undecided or confused which leads to a loss in credibility.

The Opposite Test. You can always say that your products are “nutritious, delicious, and fresh.” However, how many other companies can claim that their products are nutritious, delicious and fresh? See if your competition uses the antonyms of the adjectives that you use to describe your product. If it doesn’t, your description is useless. Example, I’ve never seen a company claim its products to be slow, hard to use and bulky.

Fool-proof your message.  Once you have the perfect brand positioning for your perfect product, it’s time to make sure that everyone understands the message it conveys. Start within your organization, from your immediate people to the receptionist down the front desk. Make sure that everyone understands the message.

The power of PR. When it comes to branding, too much money is worse than too little because people who have a lot of money tend to spend a lot of money on stupid things like stupid awards night commercials. Keep in mind that brands are built on what people are saying about you, not what you’re saying about yourself.  Go advertise above-the-line, but don’t waste too much on advertising, use PR.  Make people realize that you’re offering a great product and you get great response.

Try staying away from conventional branding, and avoid speaking like a manufacturer.  Empathize with your target consumer, and genuinely speak to them.  Brands are created in the customers’ minds. And though customers may get attracted by the brand’s value proposition, it needs to live up to the promise and build a relationship based on trust.

Customers value some products as much for what they symbolize as for what they do.  For Nike, Apple, or BMW, customers value the brand stories largely for their identity value.  Acting as “vessels of self-expression, the brands are imbued with stories that consumers find value in constructing their identities.

Every marketer aims at creating brands that customers love and trust. Yet it is only a few brands that are able to win the hearts of customers.  The challenge for brand managers comes after the non-believers have bought into the brand. The brand experience needs to be managed well.

Though branding has been regarded as a science, the process of building brands that are endearing is also an art. The culmination of science and art is what results in the creation of truly great brands.  If your brand becomes known in the market, good.  If your brand becomes popular, better.  But, in time, if your brand becomes an icon, great!


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Palarong Pinoy: A Fun Team-Building Sports Fest

Palarong Pinoy: A Fun Team-Building Sports Fest

More and more Filipino corporations are organizing Palarong Pinoy sports fests. Over 100 companies have held Larong Pinoy Corporate Mini-Olympic Events.  Human Resource Managers have testified that a Larong Pinoy even is truly a one-of-kind activity that leave lasting impression on employees, and bring out the best in each and everyone.

Unlike Basketball or any of the usual western sports activities, Larong Pinoy is a game where everybody will be able to easily participate in.  Even employees who don’t want play enjoys the event — cheering, “jeering” and supporting the teams.  Iba ang Larong Pinoy.  Ito ang tunay na Laro nating mga Pinoy.

A Larong Pinoy  company sports fest is both for young and old employees, for male and female, and for everybody who’s every inch a Filipino.

Magna Kultura started advocating Palarong Pinoy company sports fests in 2009 as a way of promoting patriotism among adults in a fun way.  Since then, the word spread that companies could have an alternative sporting event other than the usual western games.  Companies have been requesting Magna Kultura to organize their sports fest not only during summer, but any month of the year.

Magna Kultura organizes the games like a real Olympics with Tournament Systems, Referees, Game Marshals. Employees are grouped into teams with team captains.  And competitions are conducted with matches on Patintero, Tumbang Preso, Jumping Rope, Sipang Bilangan, and various Pinoy Relay Races with timed heats & team scores tabulated.

But what makes it even great is that, everyone who plays the game with their fellow- employees gets the feeling like they are childhood playmates (magkababata).  The activity becomes a unique team-bonding experience.  The experience goes beyond the event as employees cherish the thoughts of the games through-out the year.

To build a corporate family, let employees play like children.  Because employees work hard — let them play hard!  A Sports Fest Team Bonding Activity can be held anytime of the year.  It doesn’t have to be summer.



For more information, visit our Larong Pinoy website at  To get a sample document that you can use to present to your management, download an event concept plan at

For coordination, contact:


Tel. Nos. : 514-5868 /  Mobile: 0917-8990025 or 0922-8990026

Or Email us at:


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8 Tips To Get Your Great Ideas Acted Upon

8 Tips To Get Your Great Ideas Acted Upon

Great holiday party themes, starting a recycling program, changes to the compensation system, ways to expand the business… Regardless of the category of idea or the scale, you’ve probably had a great idea somewhere along the way that never got heard, despite valiant attempts. That’s because you were probably thwarted by the “Idea Vampires,” those people who reject your brilliant insights, and for any number of reasons. In order to get heard, you have to learn how to work with these people to move your idea from concept to action.

Vampires are scary. Idea Vampires use fear to suck the excitement, interest and support out of new ideas. They do it in emails, meetings, and conversations after the meeting. By creating doubts, delays and distractions, they can mortally wound your good idea.

Here are some ways to move your ideas forward:

1. Make your idea the next evolutionary step. If your idea can be attached to an existing program or initiative and seen as an extension, it is less scary and more likely to be adopted.

2. Break it into bite-size steps. Break your idea into smaller pieces that can be implemented in phases. Less threatening ideas are more possible ideas.

3. Co-opt your idea onto someone else’s idea. Making something another person’s idea is a great trick you may have used in the past. A twist on this is to add an addendum to that person’s idea, which is typically most successful when that person is in a stronger power position.

4. Start smaller for traction and expand the idea for resources. In the brainstorming sessions from which ideas come, really good thoughts get squashed because they start out too big. Start your idea small. Generate interest, then consensus, and grow the idea in the conversation in order to secure resources.

5. Ask, “Under what conditions,” to open up the brainstorming. When you get thwarted by a stonewall response, see if you can crack open the door of possibility by asking, “Under what conditions do you think we could move forward?” This maneuver avoids a deadlock and may get creative juices flowing.

6. Anticipate the typical vampire blocking moves and be ready. Here are some of the usual suspects in the vampire vocabulary: “We don’t have the resources”; “This will distract from our priorities”; and “Give me an example of where this has worked,” are typical. Be ready for them with answers.

7. Seed the audience with supporters. If you have decided to present an idea in a meeting, preview your idea to some supporters in advance to get friendly voices in the discussion.

8. Put your idea forward in terms of “yield.” Executives are paid to make the performance needles move. That means a calculation of what is the yield of each idea (ratio of effort to result), in order to be successful. Remember the old saying, “There’s no limit to what you can get done if you don’t mind who gets the credit.” Make the point of your concept to create progress for the company rather than to claim personal credit, and the chances of getting your ideas implemented will go up tremendously.




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When Its Time To Change Your Corporate Strategy

Most businesses have a core strategy that has been very successful in the past and where so much of their capabilities and strengths are centered. Every business also needs to move into adjacent areas just outside the core. These adjacent areas tend to be derived from the core, but hopefully those adjacencies strengthen the core in some way.

In order to add value to any business, you need to have a plan, and at least, renew the corporate strategy every five years, which will allow you to change with the company’s needs and recognize threats. Management should work out an updated strategy, enlist the help of experts, identify the company’s strengths, and help the organization weather the existing problems.

It’s not so much the plan, but it’s all the planning that goes into it. It’s the thinking through the various scenarios and understanding the business and what are the value drivers of the business. Where is value derived? Where is value created? Then it’s deciding what is the core that you want to build on for the future?




For Business Consulting, contact
Dickie Aguado, Executive Director – Magna Kultura Foundation
CP Nos.: +63 917 8990025 (Globe) or +63 922 8990026 (Sun)
Direct Line: Tel No. (632) 514-5868
Email Address:




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Brand X versus Brand YOU

Most entrepreneurs and senior executives completely miss out on one of the most powerful branding strategies available in today’s market: The Creation of Their Own Personal Brand.

Most people in business understand the need to build brand equity at the corporate level or for products, services, intellectual property, etc., but very few understand the substantial benefits that are created from increasing their personal brand equity.

In today’s competitive workplace, distinguishing yourself significantly from your peers can be a challenge.  it’s not just about “getting a job”—it’s about building your own personal brand. But what does that mean—“personal brand”? Much like the brands that we all know, such as Coke, Nike, or McDonald’s, your personal brand in the workplace is a combination of the product you offer (i.e., your job performance), the values that you embody, and how the two work together to create the “wholeness” that is you.

A personal brand is much more than a job title: It’s a holistic look at your goals, passions and values and how those figure into—and enhance—what you offer an employer. Oftentimes, it’s the individuals who truly know what makes them interesting, compelling, and differentiated who stand out from their peers. These people capitalize on their differences, parlaying them into an advantage. A personal branding can be the thing that will give you an edge, catch the eye of the people.

Of course, a personal brand is only as good as the reputation you are able to build around its unique promise of value—and what you ultimately deliver. Consequently, authenticity and honesty become the most important building blocks for your personal brand.

No matter where you are on the corporate ladder—starting out, a rising star or an established leader—personal branding is absolutely vital to your success. After all, numerous others may have your job title, but only a few might share your vision and appreciate the particular talents you offer. If you connect with the individuals and companies that value your “mission” in the world, you will have a much greater chance for success. No full-proof path exists for building a personal brand, but you can take steps that will help you create the best personal brand for you.

Before you head off to storm the castle, you’ll need a plan of attack and a few important tools. You need certain traits that will carry you and your vision in places you’ll walk in.


By far the most important thing you need is an intense passion for your cause, and carry it with a conviction that cannot be hindered by critics or your own shortcomings. You have to be willing to give it your all, and for a long time with potentially few rewards. In the short run, few people will notice, but in the long run, everyone will. Or at least, everyone you need to influ­ence in your campaign will notice.


What sets you apart? Where will your tipping point be? What will the world look like with you in charge? You can also call this your elevator pitch. If you had two minutes with anyone in the world who has the power to influence the rest of your life, what would you say to them? “Hi, my name is _____, I’m currently in ________, and I’m going to _________.”


There must be a reason why you’re doing what you’re working on right now other than giving you the money that you’re getting.  (You’re receiving the money that you get because of you are good at what you do.) What do you, and why are you doing it. Is there a special reason? A story behind it?  What made you decide to it?  Whether you are just starting out in business or if you have been at it for a long time OR somewhere in between, there’s a compelling reason or motivation to do the things you are doing day in and day. If you are a “brand”, you must have a “brand story”.  Your story could spark inspiration.


As we’ve seen here, you can’t just take over the world for yourself. You have to add value to others, or no one will want to help you. Therefore, you need to have skills that will radically improve the lives of others. Does your world domination plan have an educational component?

Here is the interesting thing about this: when you take the time to become a real expert in something highly specialized that really adds value to the world, the people you help will start looking to you for answers about seemingly unrelated topics. It’s always better to start highly focused and then work outwards than to begin with a broad, unspecific mandate.


You need to recruit a small army of com­mitted believers who will support your cause and add their own resources in support of it. How many people do you need? Well, obviously it varies, but 100 true fans is a great start. In fact, a small, devoted army is far better than a large, uncommitted mob.

You can tap into networks, or even create a network.  As example, I advocate the Philippine Traditional Street Games in our country, and I have sports coordinators in key cities.  My coordinators don’t only coordinate with local Barangays, but with school officials; and two years ago, they have networked a data-base of 80,000 retail stores where they are loading Larong Pinoy toys and creating product promos for corporate sponsors of the games in communities.  Now, isn’t that’s a vast multiplier to the small army?



A small army is critical, but in the long run, the friends of your friends may end up helping even more. This is because of the phenomenon called “the strength of weak ties.” In 1973, sociologist Mark Granovetter published a controversial ar­ticle claiming that “weak ties,” or friends of friends, are responsible for the major­ity of new jobs and opportunities we encounter. This claim runs contradictory to the classical understanding of efficient markets, and Granovetter even showed how most new information we acquire in our daily lives comes from extended social networks.


Your goal will probably require some amount of money. How much do you need? Simply put, you need enough money to accomplish the goal—no more, no less. Figure out what the true cost is and then figure out how to get it. Work the math out backwards.

For example, I figured out that visiting the entire regions of the Philippines would cost me an amount of money that would be equal to buying a brand new S.U.V. When I saw the costs and the relative value for both, I felt encour­aged. I gave up the hypothetical large vehicle and “discovered” the Philippines.  In “discovering” the Philippines, I discovered myself and many other priceless things.  It was worth the investment.


You have to be able to devote significant time to improving your skills. You don’t just want to be good enough; you want to be remarkable. What this means is dif­ferent for everyone — some people are able to their goals in their off hours, while others will need more time.

Some people get up at 4:00 a.m. every day to study, or work on things other than their jobs. This strategy doesn’t work for everyone, how­ever, because many people find that their 9-5 commitment steals their best energy from them. In these cases, you’ll need to make some major adjustments. or even create a 8th day during the week.

Regardless of which side you fit in, you’ll need enough time. You won’t grow as tall as a giant work­ing only four hours a week.


Indeed, social networking is here to stay, but you also need some kind of “pulpit”. You need to be able to speak to your army directly.

This can be done through a web site, a blog, a newsletter, an email list, a phone broadcast, or something else. You can’t create just a virtual army, you need to have real faces in front of you.  You will need to go out in the fields, put in the trenches, where it matters most.

That’s it!

The above list may not be fully com­plete.  And there are certainty other things that people will expect from you — some are necessary, and other that are com­pletely unnecessary.

This list of ignorable expectations in­cludes:

• Qualifications

• Introductions

• Endorsements

• Everything the gatekeepers expect from you

These are all the things you DON’T NEED.

I’m probably going to make some people angry with that sentence, but my goal to present the truth. And the truth is that if you want to achieve your most significant goals, and you want to transform the world for the better in the process, you really don’t need to jump through all the hoops that people hold up for you.

In the past, you had to keep checking boxes in application forms and ticking tasks off the expecta­tions list for a long time before anyone would listen to you and get an audience.

But guess what? Life is different now. You are your own specialist in your field of expertise.  If you have something of merit to bring to the table, serve it.

You can be successful the moment you decide to give more than is expected in all that you do. Make yourself valuable in your field of expertise.  If you build it, they will come.

Your personal brand is a reflection of your greatest strengths. Identify what those are, and then make that the ground you stand on.


If you need consultancy on your career, or a business plan… give me a call.  I may have a few cents of ideas which you can turn into paperbucks of a plan that will lift you up.   Tel. No. 514-5868.

Keep the fire burning!



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Your Brand Name is Everything They Need To Remember

To some a brand is just a name or a logo. To some, it stands for quality. To some it means a whole lot more like a status symbol.

So what’s in a brand, really? Is it the image? Is it the company behind the name? Of course, anyone with enough sense will say it’s about all these things, and more. It works for every business, big or small.

A commonly used term in marketing, branding is often the subliminal process by which a business employs marketing strategies to guide people to easily remember their products and services over a competitor’s.

Essentially, it’s applied psychology. Branding is also a method to leverage success, expand market share, and fend off competition. The problem is, companies are turning to branding as a panacea and the cold, hard fact is branding will not create a spike in cash flow or market share. Therefore, it makes sense to understand that the purpose of branding is not to make your target market choose you over the competition, but rather to urge your prospects to see you as the only solution to their problem. 

Establish and evolve your brand. Branding is necessary to give your company a distinct and memorable identity. A company possessing brand recognition is better poised to succeed.

A good brand is one that can convey a company’s message throughout a wide array of audience, ideally one that is timeless and one that sticks.

A strong brand is invaluable, as the battle for customers intensifies day by day. Brands of the future will be those able to surround their products and services with ardent advocates and loyalists: passion brands.

All other brands will be left to compete in the price wars. It is important that the TV, radio, print online and offline images of your business be harmonious and that time is invested in researching, defining, and building your brand. After all, your brand is your promise to your consumer. Your brand resides within the hearts and minds of customers, clients and prospects. It is the sum total of their experiences and perceptions regarding your company, some of which you can influence, and some that you cannot.

How do you connect with the consumer when they’re calling all the shots? View your consumers as both customer and collaborator and employ game-changing thinking. In order to change the game, you need to audit how you think, comparing rational versus intuitive decision-making strategies and identifying common mistakes made by even the most experienced professionals. The process is based on the premise that the answers to your company’s brand strategy reside in the heads of the CEO and the key management group.



Eleven key attributes necessary to become a passion brand include:

1.   You must recognize that your brand is a key asset in delivering strategic targets at a level that is higher than the industry standard.

2.  Do not consider the brand as merely a communications issue—your brand must be recognized as the key platform to link the company strategy with customers and employees.

3.   Make sure your brand management processes are integrated seamlessly into the company’s processes—i.e., “branding” is not a separate activity.
4.   Your senior management is accountable for the brand’s continued health—brand responsibility resides at C-level.

5.  All of your employees need to share a belief in the brand as well as a common understanding of the brand.  With this mindset in place, the power of the brand will act as an incentive to employees.

6.  Ensure your employees’ activities are aligned with the brand values and contribute to the building and strengthening of the brand.


7.  Your employees should be measured and rewarded by the success of these brand-guided activities.

8.   Your marketing department must be able to talk in terms of expected return on their investments and marketers must be able to leverage customer insights to make the most effective marketing decisions.  Future strategy should be built based on knowledge of the customer, product and practices.


9.   All marketing activities should be closely aligned with the core brand values.

10.   It is necessary to invest in sufficient IT capability to capture data on customers, segment customers in order to efficiently respond to their needs, and implement marketing techniques to deliver increased ROI.


11.   You must identify your company’s brand equity (the financial value of your brand) by understanding the brand’s value drivers and the levers required to influence these drivers.  This action leads to success.

Always remember that your BRAND IS EVERYTHING that you and your company stands for.  People may not know the name of your company, but it is important that they remember the brand you carry — especially when they decide to make a purchase.  





For discussion of Brand Building and Strategic Marketing Solutions, call me at (632) 514-5868.  We’re building brands not just for “awareness”, but to deliver “day-after” sales results. 




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The World Population Reaches 7-Billion. Countdown Oct 31, 2011.

World Population Day is celebrated annually on the 11th July. This important observation is an outgrowth of the Day of 5 Billion, which was observed on 11 July back in 1987. It was later recommended that 11 July be observed as World Population Day.

World Population Day seeks to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues, particularly in the context of overall development plans and programmes, and the need for collective actions.

This year the World Population Day marks the launching of a campaign called “7 billion”, an international move to celebrate the milestone of 7 billion of the world’s population. The campaign will engage people throughout the globe on what it means to live in a world with 7 billion people and encourage actions on issues that affect all of us.

On October 31, 2011, as many folks are out celebrating Halloween or All Saints Day, the world’s population is expected to hit 7 billion people, according to estimations by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).


In spirit of this outlook, the UNFPA in cooperation with the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Manila organized an event at Smokey Mountain, in Tondo, Manila as part of the countdown for the upcoming arrival of “The Day of 7 Billion”.


Co-hosted by Gawad Kalinga (Manila Chapter), U.N. delegates and JCI Manila will launching the event that will be attended by families from Smokey Mountain.  U.N. delegates will be visiting residences at Gawad Kalinga, and fellows from JCI Manila will have a medical outreach clinic.


The event at Smokey Mountain has a special message that intends to raise awareness and to reflect on what it means to live in a world of 7 billion people and take action on issues that affect us all.  UNFPA encourages citizens to think of “7 billion ideas” to counter potential problems that comes with the increase of the world population. UNFPA will enjoin every citizen to share ideas with each other, and encourage the role of the youth, to find a solution to the world’s problem’s.



After the ceremonies at the Gawad Kalinga center, the U.N. and JCI delegates will proceed to the Field Of Dreams Ballpark located at the Smokey Mountain, where Magna Kultura Foundation will be organizing Traditional Filipino Street Game activities.

U.N. delegates will be playing with Tondo kids in games, such as Patintero, Tumbang Preso, Luksong Tinik, Piko, and many other games.


Starting at 8 A.M., while ceremonies are being held at the Gawad Kalinga Center, Magna Kultura will start the game activities at the Field of Dreams with a Larong Pinoy Sports Clinic. Tondo youths will be treated to a Larong Pinoy sports instruction lesson teaching the game play mechanics with systematic drills and exercises.


Afterwhich, children will be enjoined to form into teams to play the games in a mini-sporstfest. The U.N. delegates will join the children during the sportfest for interaction, at the same time have a feel of our unique Filipino games.


The outreach event with the families at Smokey Mountain is the United Nation’s way of symbolically commemorating “The Day of 7 Billion”.  UNFPA eagerly desires to promote the right of every man, woman and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity.  The event is the beginning of UNFPA’s campaign to create awareness towards the commitment for a healthy and sustainable world for all.


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