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Ray Baird, founder and president, RiechesBaird  

Click here for Ray Baird's bio
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Thursday, January 27, 2011
Best brands, minds gather in New York
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Improve the brand experience
Managing corporate brand is 'critical'
“Survival of the Fittest” – that's the title of today’s first presentation by Thomas O'Toole, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for United Airlines. The company is in the process of creating a new integrated brand and strategy after the recent merger with Continental Airlines. Thomas talked about the changing landscape of branding, and how managing the corporate identity is absolutely critical in today’s market – especially with the growing influence of social media. Managing a brand across a growing array of channels can be extremely difficult, and the company is approaching its new brand strategy by involving all divisions of the organization: smart. United Airlines is driven from the customer experience point of view: smart. And brand preference is the key performance metric that the airline is using to demonstrate results.

Thomas noted that managing the corporate brand is extremely important, but he acknowledged and understood that controlling the brand in the new social era is impossible. Guiding the brand, being consistent and being proactive is top of mind, and integration is critical. Transparency is everything.

He listed a few major elements to the strategic process:

1. Define the brand position.
2. Articulate the customer experience.
3. Design brand identity.
4. Operationalize.
5. Execute across channels.

It will be interesting to follow the progress of the company's new brand creation. It seems like re-branding is the central theme to this year’s conference, and social media is definitely going to be a main topic.

Stay tuned.