Cohere, Branding and Brand

I recently became a member of Cohere, a collaborative workgroup in the Old Town area of Fort Collins, Colorado. Cohere provides the infrastructure of a corporate environment (only lots hipper and with great coffee) and is designed for the flexible workstyles of independent contractors and consultants.

While there are conference rooms and private areas, most of the action at Cohere takes place in an open office where you’re surrounded by all kinds of cool people working on their own stuff. You can feed off of the group energy and be super productive, sample from what’s going on around you and learn something, or participate in the free wheeling, mostly business oriented, discussions.

To make things even better, and in my case irresistibly so, these cool people know lots of things I don’t and see other things in fresh new ways. There are no office politics so opinions flow freely.

Some of the Cohere folks are designers of the marketing communications and web persuasion. They create powerful images and user experiences. I wouldn’t have a clue where to start on many of their projects.

Yet, as it turns out, their work and mine are closely related.

They deal with Branding. In my work, I deal with Brand. What’s the difference? If you check a few marketing books or Google both words the results are so confusing you’ll probably wish you’d just accepted that the “ing”-thing was it and gotten on with your life.

My take as a Marketing Physicist is a little simpler:

Branding is about creating the interface between a buyer or user and the organization providing a product or service. Branding attracts and then provides an emotional and intellectual shortcut – we interact with Branding through our five senses and our brain says, “I feel I know them” and hopefully even “I think I know what to expect from them.”

Brand, on the other hand, is what happens inside of the envelope created by Branding. Brand is the sum total of how well a company keeps its promises to its customers.

Brand has three major parts that a company controls: the desired marketing position, a compelling market offer or promise to prospective customers, and competently and predictably keeping that promise.

My personal focus is on the second part – I help companies discover unmet customer needs and create new, high margin, market offers to address those needs. I also help in the positioning and operational performance areas at the request of some clients.

Every week, while I work at Cohere helping companies with their Brand, my Cohere neighbors are working their Branding magic to make a Brand attractive, accessible, current and clear. We work together, for different clients, in a hip place without a cubical in sight. Oh, and with great coffee.

And if I have questions about my website, I know who to ask.

Michael Clingan can be reached at or at 970-613-0923.

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