Early Internet marketers disseminated misinformation leaving many Internet businesses with weak or no brand protection. Marketers in their quest to secure easy search rankings, as well as domain resellers seeking to drive up prices, failed to communicate this important message: A generic term will never be a trademark or brand for the product or service being sold.
Before joining The Gap Brands late in 2014, Kyle spent years traveling the globe facilitating teams to solve problems, crafting solutions, and maintaining relevancy to consumers. In a candid conversation, Kyle shared an experience of getting down with consumers in their homes and offices, where he looks for clues that lead to break throughs for the brands he represents.
This is the first in a series of excerpts from my interview with Kyle Hermans, for the forthcoming book Brandaide–A Blueprint for the Brand CEO. Kyle offers a rare glimpse into the world of a real life brand innovation master. Kyle Hermans travels the globe leading a diverse array of global brand owners in solving problems. Kyle facilitates brands and their leaders to creative breakthrough, and to innovate. We ask, what does the word “innovation” really mean?
Former members of BLACK FLAG were in a fight over rights to the name and famous logo when a second group called FLAG began touring using the logo. It’s a common problem that can be avoided. A few years ago, the founders of the largest Mexican group in America were jailed in Mexico for two months for attempting to perform in Mexico under their own name.
CH: Jonathan, the personal brand transcends what we actually do for a living.
JF: It should yes, absolutely.
CH: And it really relates to a quality of some sort. It could be something to do with a personal characteristic or something physically and it could be integrity, a personal character: we associate that for example with Colin Powell (integrity). Someone like Margaret Thatcher was known as “The Iron Lady.”
CH: We were also talking earlier about Tim O’Brien and he authored the book “The Power of Personal Branding”: I understand you studied with Tim at one point?
JF: I did, yeah.
CH: I was very impressed with some of the concepts he put forth as he talks about each individual in a service brand, or a personal brand, needing to come up some personal quality. It could be a physical characteristic that you’re known for, or it could be perhaps a personality characteristic or an attitude whether it’s integrity or strength.
CH: Jonathan, what is it about building a service brand that is more difficult than dealing with a consumer brand?
JF: With consumer brands, all of us can immediately see the product that’s being sold and it’s not the sales person who’s responsible necessarily for selling us or winning over the purchase, it’s the product that we’re buying. With professional services, we look at the professional as the intangible product. It’s the person who is delivering the service, it’s the person that we can engage with, and because none of us are alike, it makes that individual kind of a moving target.