It’s a branded world out there and it’s high time that Filipinos flip the switch from being a global consumer to being a world-class creator  – These were the words of Mr. Kendrick Co as he opened the program of ISA’s Skills Lab on Organizational Branding last October 10, 2019 at Green Sun Hotel, Makati City. On its first run, this Skills Lab course was attended by a mix of professionals representing hospitals, local government units (LGU), and national agencies, all seeking to learn how to develop a strategic branding plan from resource speaker Mr. Co, the founder and current CEO of Antidote Branding.

An issued invite 

To begin the first module on the basics of Organizational Branding, Mr. Co called on the participants to face the question of why they do what they do, inviting them to dig deep for the story behind their organizations and to use this to develop one’s brand. For him, relying on external companies to steer one’s products to success should not be the norm, as local products and talents are already at par with global audiences; they just need good branding to maximize this potential.

“As brand owners, we have the power to dictate or change where our brand goes,” said Mr. Co. On discussing the fundamentals of the branding process, Mr. Co offered different definitions of “branding.” In the process, he clarified that a brand is not simply a name, a logo, or an advertised item. Rather, it is the whole perception that people have towards a company or organization that delivers a product or service. Here, he emphasized the importance of having a story that connects with other people because ultimately, the “brand” exists in the minds of the people interacting with the company or organization. 

Finding a parking space

To aid in developing the organizations’ brands, Mr. Co shared the Brand Divergence Framework, the primary branding framework used by Antidote Branding, for the next module. Mr. Co walked the participants through the seven elements of the framework which plot out the brand profile articulated in a narrative touching on the organization’s points of difference and their relationship with the external market. 

Mr. Co challenged hospitals to take the perspective of patients as they go through the medical services, to see how their patients regard them. Regarding appearances, Mr. Co invited LGU staff to explore the ways by which their brand can stand out from the rest of the cities using similar taglines such as “I love ‘city’“. According to him, establishing one’s brand in a crowded, competitive scene is similar to trying to find a distinct parking space in the mind of one’s patron that only one’s organization can fill. 

This lecture was then followed by a workshop where participants split into groups to apply the Brand Divergence Framework for their respective organizations, The groups engaged Mr. Co in a fruitful discussion regarding their organizations’ challenges in branding. To wrap up the course, Mr. Co reminded participants that branding is a continuous process. 

“It is not enough to simply create a brand. You have to build it, grow it,” said the branding expert. 


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