Corporate Eye

Does Your Brand Matter?

Would anyone notice if your brand disappeared tomorrow?  Would anyone care?

Those are two questions that branding experts use in what’s often called the tombstone test.  By answering those questions, you’ll get a better idea of the importance of your brand in the marketplace. 

Is your brand easily replaceable in the minds of consumers?  Do customers feel a strong loyalty to your brand?  Try the tombstone test to learn the truth about your brand.

Think of it this way.  Would anyone notice if Coca-Cola disappeared tomorrow?  Undoubtedly, millions of people would notice.  Would anyone care if Coca-Cola disappeared tomorrow?  Certainly, millions of people would care, and they’d probably be very vocal about it.

Now try the same test with your brand.  If your own feelings about your brand are getting in the way of making an accurate assessment, then go out and speak to your customers directly.  Ask them if they would miss your brand or care if it disappeared.  You just might be surprised by what they tell you.  In fact, their responses might make you completely redefine your marketing strategy.

Another interesting approach to the tombstone test is to ask your customers the same questions about your competitors’ brands.  Compare the answers to those given for your brand, then look for opportunities or threats and modify your strategy to fill the gaps (or take advantage of them).

Remember, successful brands are those that people care about and would miss if they disappeared.  If you customers don’t care now, then it’s your job to make them care.

So does your brand matter?  If not, make it matter!

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.