Here’s a question for brand managers, marketing leaders and chief marketing officers in the audience: How consistent are you with your branding? Are you relentlessly hammering your customers through every channel and touchpoint you have access to? Brands that maintain a strong presence focus on what truly matters: they are the companies that develop and maintain a strong foundation of mission, vision and values. These brands also cultivate a deep bench of messages, supported by relevant visuals.
Powerful brands are conceived through a deep understanding of a company’s value, are brought to life through creative expression, and are sustained through consistent messaging. That is messaging that is tailored to the right audience. But, what about those brands that don’t have such a foundation? How do they communicate their value? There are several other questions to consider for a brand attempting to strengthen their foundation:
- Can others see the value in your idea, product or service that you do?
- Is your vision clear to those in your organization?
- How can you make it clearer if it isn’t already?
- If they can’t, then what does that mean for your brand?
How do you perceive your brand’s value? There’s a difference in how you deliver messages to your team and how they then act upon those messages to affect some type of change. While you can see the value of the idea you’re presenting, how sure are you that others can? It’s more likely that your contemporaries cannot see your wisdom. Or, more to the point, they can’t understand how you presented it to them. If that’s the case—or if the product or service your company makes no longer seems relevant to its intended customer—you’re suffering from some form of disconnect somewhere along the track. No brand survives that—not even some of the big boys, with plenty of awareness.
Case in point: The video rental giant Blockbuster, long a weekend entertainment staple for millions of people who stayed in, survived the transition from VHS cassettes to DVD. But, they didn’t foresee how video streaming would take the market by storm. Rather than shift gears to incorporate an element of online streaming, Blockbuster stuck with a brick and mortar model that was quickly going the way of the dinosaurs. Not only did their revenue model revolve around brand awareness, it relied upon penalizing its customers with late fees. One of Netflix’s strengths was its business model, which eschewed brick and mortar locations. That helped them lower their costs to pass along to their customers. Blockbuster failed, despite their global brand, because what they offered didn’t reach their audience where they lived, and their product became irrelevant.
This disconnect or misalignment, is a systemic breakdown in your effort to showcase your brand value. Breaking free from that disconnect isn’t impossible. Your brand is defined by what your customers think and feel about your company. That’s it. You’re more than capable of influencing that thinking through the messages, images and actions you disseminate. While it’s true you can shape thinking to fit a chosen narrative, your plan only succeeds if internally, your organization is aligned with your message. This internal alignment must include:
- Processes that gather the best and brightest ideas from across the organization
- Processes that avoid saboteurs and create a culture of collaboration
- Processes that are about an opportunity to get the pulse of the company
Determining what growth drivers are is paramount to uncovering what motivates your customers. So, what do you do? Implement a cross-silo internal alignment that is clear, precise, and compelling. Distill your brand’s value to its essence, give it a face and voice, and develop a rigorous program to express it. We build brands with a systems approach. That means that every part of your brand works together in a symbolic web of touchpoints. Brands that use the proper touchpoints can make the most impact because their audience will understand the value of whatever it is you’re offering. Clear understanding means value every time, especially if that value is received in different places.
This type of consistent and accountable approach is how brands shape perceptions and communicate their value and the value of their product or service.
ThoughtForm helps clients reach internal audiences with innovative communication tools that are articulated clearly so they are easily digested. We know this is how real, transformational change begins.