Erika Engle

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Branding not
just for cowhides

California-based BrandCentrics Inc. will be officially hanging out a shingle, of sorts, in Hawaii on June 22.

An invitation-only reception will unveil the brand development and strategic consulting company founded by Laurie Lang, former senior vice president of brand management and strategic marketing at the Walt Disney Co.

BrandCentrics' senior partner is Pat Loui, president of OmniTrak Group Inc., a local research company that will remain independent, though "OmniTrak will certainly be implementing some of BrandCentrics' products," she said.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for Hawaii to have access to a branding expert who's worked with one of the best brands in the world," Loui said. Lang "founded the brand management department (at Disney)."

Lang and Loui have known and worked with each other for years.

"OmniTrak was one of my primary research providers while I was senior vice president of strategic marketing at Disney," Lang said. "They were primarily doing a lot of brand equity work, measuring the Disney brand in Asia."

The two already have rolled out some client work during island-by-island site visits with Hawaii Tourism Authority officials.

The difference between branding companies, and public relations and marketing firms, is that "PR and marketing is really the implementation of actual communication," Lang said.

"What we do is the foundation steps before those programs take place ... we work with the company or organization to determine what the critical, core values are and to build a foundation upon which to develop advertising, public relations and marketing."

It is more than just image-building, however.

"The core mistake ... is to rely exclusively on the ads to create an image and they don't deliver on that image, when it comes to (a customer's) product- or service-experience," said Lang.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: eengle@starbulletin.com

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