After hundreds of articles and speeches and a couple of books about ‘brand as a result of the promises you keep’, I still get people retorting “oh, so you do marketing.”
After I swallow my frustration, I take their assumption and use it as an opportunity to talk about what it takes to achieve the brand result. And those conversations matter because I’ve seen first-hand the wasted effort and resources, confusion and disengagement, and broken promises from the ‘brand as marketing’ approach.
It’s also important to acknowledge that proper marketing is almost wholly misunderstood and painted as “communications” – but that’s a different article.
If you want a bigger, better or some other kind of brand result, take heart. You can share the load because achieving it is work for the whole organisation, not only marketing.
It is the unheroic work and goes comparatively unheralded. So, here’s a starting list of 20 things to think about. Deliberately absent are activities traditionally accepted as ‘branding’:
- Answer the question, “What’s most important to the organisation?”
- Invest your resources accordingly
- Hire people who agree ‘it’ is important
- Observe how you ‘do things around here’ – they are your values
- Make promises you can keep (this is hard)
- Keep them (this is impossible if you don’t do 6)
- Think about the day-to-day experience you want people who work for you, buy from you and partner with you to have
- Pay extra attention to how people leave – be kind
- Sell products people want to buy from you (really think about this one, especially the ‘from you’ part) (side note: services are products too)
- Use your products
- Follow up – it’s part of buying and selling anything
- Don’t send a survey before the product is delivered
- Measure how you’re doing on ‘what’s most important.’
- Don’t make a single incident into a policy that punishes everyone
- Acknowledge. Thanks, I got it. It was good to meet you. Thank you for supporting us.
- Sweat the small stuff
- Tidy up, water the plants in your office, fix broken links on your website – nothing says we don’t care more than a mess and dead things
- Look for gaps and overlaps between areas – sales and IT, manufacturing and finance; it’s where promises break most easily
- Be consistent
- Make a list of things for your organisation
The brand result stores the value created by actions and decisions from across the whole organisation. So, look beyond the marketing label when you think about your brand because it’s a continuing accomplishment or an eroding one, action by action, every day.
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