Legendary ad guru David Ogilvy was credited with coining the term “Brand” years ago explaining it as “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.” Nowadays, “branding” refers to the process associated with establishing and publicizing everything from goods and services to corporate identities.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos takes it a step beyond: “Your brand is what people say about you when you aren’t in the room.” So true!

When in front of a local business owner, JDA Executive Vice President Tom Ray often poses this question: “If I asked 100 people around town, ‘What do you think of when you hear (business name),’ what would they tell me” followed by, “’What would you like them to say?’”

What local brands do you think of first in a category?  Do you visualize a logo, hum a line, or say a slogan? I hear “If you’re not shopping at Stacy’s, you’re burning money,” Milestone Electric’s “We’ll fix it in a flash,” and see “Texas Connects Us” from the local NBC affiliate in Dallas.

Spot an impressive logo, a clear brand promise or hear a few notes of music, and consumers instantly make a clear connection – a lot of heavy lifting in a short amount of time. With enough repetition, brand elements get ingrained in minds, working as a critical element in top-of-mind recall.

Brand is driven, to a significant degree, through essentials such as clarity and consistency. It is also the source of a promise to your consumer. If you present yourself as the maker of the most durable screwdrivers in the world, your brand must live up to that.

In calling on local businesses with your sales teams, our JDA Senior Marketing Consultants help them identify their “one thing.” The thing that separates their company from competitors, why consumers choose them … in other words, where to plant their flag.

And we help hammer home the idea that consistency, repetition, and delivery of their one thing is integral to their success.

Apple, Target, and Nike are all unwavering examples that remain on-brand, “ruthlessly consistent” in their respective style, presentation, expectation, and utility.

Now more than ever, our local sales professionals must be imparting this advice to local advertisers. Local advertisers need to cut through the clutter, drive new client acquisition, and retain current customers.

And a clear picture of brand promise and differentiation promoted consistently on our platforms, leads to solid footing for a company.

Steve Forbes said, “Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.”  While marketing may be what brings customers to your door, branding is what helps you keep them. It’s a long term investment. 

As we talk with our customers and among ourselves, let’s make sure we’re not the cobbler whose kids have no shoes. Take a look at your brand and your personal brand promise. Do we have a brand promise with our advertisers? Are we clear on our own point of differentiation and value?

Because let’s face it, in the current competitive landscape, if you’re not branding your company or helping your local advertisers brand themselves, count on this: others will do it for you. 

(View more Prime Time Leadership posts on current happenings in media leadership here:)


At JDA, we’re having fruitful conversations with senior media leaders across the country around driving revenue, sales leadership and marketing best practices. If I can be a sounding board for you or your company, please reach out to Angela@jimdoyle.com or info@jimdoyle.com

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