If you asked a random sample of business people what a ‘brand’ is, many would provide the traditional value of colourful logos, witty tag lines, creative commercials and fancy packaging.
They would be wrong.
This old world view of a brand (with lowercase ‘b’) is the result of years of shiny, cosmetic make-over jobs that advertising and communication professionals have applied as an afterthought to products and services. This is why most people dislike marketers and advertisers- because historically they’ve created false worlds with no integrity.
In contrast, a ‘Brand’ (with a capital ‘B’) is firmly embedded in the real world. A real Brand is determined by the sum of your customers’ actual experiences with your company’s people, products or services- how they perceive you as a result of all their points of contacts.
This shift from ‘shiny to real’ has dramatic implications. Smart advertising still has an important role to play, but it’s not longer the vital link to customers it once was; instead it’s the broad interface of your operations and the front line workers that connect your Brand to your customers.
Your Brand is made up of tangible and intangible associations that your customers and stakeholders form about your organisation and it’s products and services. These associations can be:
- Visual (logos, adverts, signage, website, merchandising, office design)
- Emotional (feelings derived from interactions with the organisation’s people, products and services)
- Cultural (‘this is the way things are done in this organisation’)
A strong Brand will generate positive associations at every point of customer interactions.
A challenge that businesses can face is to keep the promise made in the Brand’s advertising and other marketing communications activities consistent with the Brand delivery. There’s no point in promising great customer service in your advertising and putting customers on hold for 15 minute when they call.
The most important thing for a company’s leadership is to recognise and act upon, especially in word-of-mouth (WOM) service companies is that YOUR PEOPLE ARE YOUR BRAND.
If you want to pull this off, you first must understand your Brand’s DNA and what it stands for, and then do whatever it takes to align your organisational values to your Brand values.
The most successful companies are full of people that ‘live the Brand’.
If this has resonated with you and you would like to establish or grow your brand, then please get in touch with us via our website or give us a call on 0141 221 1825- we’d love to hear from you!