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Future Forum: The Importance of Being Branded

CHARLESTON, S.C. - No matter what your business, one of the keys to success is creating a meaningful branding experience. So said futurist Jim Taylor, one of the keynote speakers at the Convenience Store News Future Forum held this week in Charleston, S.C., to an audience of more than 100 convenience store operators and their supplier partners.

“We live in a time of unprecedented risk,” Taylor said. “What makes people feel safe? A brand that they can trust. We need to help people resolve uncertainty.”

The keys to creating a branding experience are, according to Taylor:
• Consistency.
• Value proposition.
• Transitivity. “The experience has to be the same across the brand,” Taylor said.
• Inherent scarcity. Taylor noted that the best brands convey a sense of being something special, something that the customer feels good about acquiring or experiencing.
• Mastery of a point of distinction.

That view of branding was echoed by Paul Casadont, global merchandising COF manager of Chevron Corp., who added that “a brand is not simply an ad, a logo, a spokesperson, product, or name….It's all of these things combined with customer interaction.

“Bringing the brand to life is not a one-off objective … it must evolve over time,” he continued. “To succeed, the brand must be well managed, consistent, demonstrate relevance and involve the entire organization.”

Other speakers at this year's Future Forum included 7-Eleven CMO Doug Foster, “supermarket guru” and retail expert Phil Lempert, retail consultant and c-store veteran John Matthews and a panel of designers who offered insights as to how innovative design can help create and establish a powerful brand.

Full coverage of the two-day event will be featured in the Aug. 8 issue of Convenience Store News.

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