Pronunciation: 'par-&-"däks
Function: noun
1: a tenet contrary to received opinion. 2: a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true.
(From Merriam-Webster)

At the heart of branding resides a paradox. This article unravels it and examines its intricacies.

It begins by asking what and why this paradox occurs. Next, it translates branding from the realm of the theoretical into finance-based metrics. This approach illuminates the critical need for brand management, and in turn, quantifies the process into tangible results. A new metric arises from this process—Return on Customer Investment (ROCI).

In previous articles, my constant droning that top management "doesn't get branding" reached an apex (to my mind), and this article attempts to frame the discussion in terms that business leaders are most comfortable with.

So, if "financial metrics" are more palatable to organizational leaders, then let's translate branding into quantifiable terms (ROCI).

What Is This Paradox?

As noted in the Merriam-Webster definition, a paradox is an idea, thought or accepted notion that seems contrary to the truth.

In today's business environment, marketing plays a subservient role in imperatives that drive strategic trajectories. Branding, primarily viewed as a subset of marketing, receives even less notice. The business paradox, more specifically, is the link between branding and an organization's market value; nevertheless, corporate America views it as unrelated.

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Bill Nissim consults with organizations on strategic branding imperatives. He has helped firms make the transition to Second Life and has fostered brand creation in virtual worlds. Bill has held senior management positions at Fortune 100 firms. Reach him via