If a marketer were handed a new brand to use in their marketing mix that wouldn’t impact their budget, how much would it increase the ROI of their marketing? What if a sales leader was given an innovative tool that would enable salespeople to build brand loyalty that couldn’t be dislodged by a competitor’s products? How much faster could a company grow if this new brand and sales tool was used to more tightly integrate marketing and sales activities?
As marketing managers have become brand managers and marketing communication managers are becoming “content marketing managers,” are corporate communications executives soon to become the CIBBO (chief internal brand building officer)? I am not trying to conjure up some sort of Dilbert-esque cynicism about job title inflation that might be taking place in the marketing profession. To the contrary I think these new titles are good indicators of how the marketing profession is upping its game and stepping up in the way it is contributing to their organization’s success.
I think it is time to begin a pragmatic conversation about brand, let’s call it a “Brandversation.” I am talking about having an on-going practical and interesting conversation about brand that we all can learn from and enjoy. The good news is that there are a lot people talking about brand today. My concern is that they are talking past each other and not learning much from the conversation. One way to harness the interest and the on-going chatter is by creating a practical common language around brand. Let’s capitalize on brand’s popularity so everyone can learn more.
One of the core promises of a brand is that it will reduce uncertainty for consumers and eliminate some stress in their everyday decision making. When brands are distinctive and different, conventional wisdom holds, it’s usually easier to make a choice: Do I shop at Target or Wal-Mart?
“In a world where the words new and fresh are relentlessly repeated on every product label, the name of the sales technique is getting old and stale. Where is the ad-Übermensch, the creative Ogilivy, who will put forward a new moniker for the name of the atmospheric marketing game? The time has come… to unbrand the word brand.”
Want to become brand of choice? Who doesn’t? It’s not easy, but developing a strategy doesn’t have to be complicated. Making concepts like becoming brand of choice simpler and more pragmatic empowers more people to use them to their benefit. Robust, fact-based discussions using simple well-understood concepts produce the best results. So let’s start with the basics of becoming brand of choice. Your brand will be preferred when your customers perceive and believe you deliver distinctively greater value then they can get from someone else. So far that’s a no-brainer and simple to understand. Right?
Pardon my skepticism, but is the new found religion around NPS (net promoter score) a bona fide trend toward higher levels of customer-centricity or an adoption of a simplified customer satisfaction statistic to add to the KPI (key performance indicator) dashboard? Frankly I have seen instances with clients that fall into either category. The organizations that I have observed that fit into the former are impressive in the way the customer relationship has become front and center of the organization. I like what I see. As a longtime advocate of the benefits of internal brand building I know that customer-centric cultures build strong brands. It seems to me that making a connection between internal brand building and improving NPS scores can provide useful insights for the benefit of both.
Recently I was asked to lead a panel to share best practices for building a strong brand in the long-term care and affordable housing category at a national event hosted by Leading Age, the leader and advocate for the industry. The dialogue was preceded by the presentation of two case studies describing comprehensive brand building initiatives, recently completed by two of the industry’s most respected leaders represented on the panel. The ensuing dialogue with the participants was insightful and instructive. The audience’s comments seemed to jell around a few common brand related issues facing the industry.
In the best of cases a new corporate identity enhances the market’s perception of the organization and is a boost to employees’ belief in the company’s culture. It’s time to put the focus of identity back into corporate identity. There is an emerging opportunity to use the launch of a new corporate identity to help employees find meaning in their work and discover important alignment with their employer. It’s time for corporate identity management to move from an emphasis on the mark to the meaning behind it.
Recently I received a Holiday card from a friend and colleague of mine in Spain, a connection I made over 10 years ago. Her card led me through a series of digital connections and I discovered an interesting blog that got me thinking about brand and the power of connections.