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21/12/2015

"Turning the Telescope™". It's an informal, interactive conversation that brings to light the heart and soul of your company.

It All Begins With Turning The Telescope™


The first step is our brand discovery session, "Turning the Telescope™". It's an informal, interactive conversation that brings to light the heart and soul of your company. The goal is simple: to define your brand's unique positioning. We explore the why, philosophy, history, culture, and mindset of your company - together.  We work with you to find the essence of your brand. In the end, we consolidate everything we've learned about your company and what it stands for into one equation:

This now becomes the statement that defines your business. It's the one thought that helps your customers choose you and that your employees point to for guidance. This is the thought that builds perceived value for your brand. It differentiates your product or service from being more than just a commodity.​

Time For a Brand Check Up?

With so much recent press about the importance of brand, and that it involves internalizing a brand, you may be starting to think more about your own brand. Are you growing your brand? Is it working for you? Do all, yes, all of your employees know your brand?  Do they understand the role they play in delivering upon your brand promise? Is it time to invest in a round of brand development?

There are research tools, such as the Brand Insight AssessmentTM, which can help you determine the state of your brand. But there also are clues, admittedly unscientific but easy to spot, which may indicate that, yes, now is the time to focus on brand development. Many of the clues are related, so they’ll usually crop up in bunches.

If your answer is “yes” to more than a couple of the following questions, this could be the right time to seriously consider brand development and a renewed branding initiative.

Have you lost market position? If your company was number one 10 years ago and number three now, there may be a number of things to fix. Tinkering around the edges won’t get you back to the top spot. Start with your brand.

Are your marketing investments delivering diminishing returns? No matter how much you spend, you get just about the same results. Sure, the world of media is changing. But could the big problem be your message? New executions and new media won’t fix it. Time to pay attention to your brand.

Has your senior management restructured? Brands belong to the people, but brand development begins at the top of the hierarchy. When there’s a lot of change at the top, there’s bound to be some confusion in the ranks. A strong brand development process is a great way to get everyone on the same page.

So where does your company stand? Healthy brand or unhealthy? For most successful companies, working on brand building – understanding it, delivering on it, communicating it, measuring it – is an all-the-time thing. If your organization has a clear vision of your brand and is acting on it, you probably haven’t read this far. If you have, you’ll probably find yourself nodding yes to a number of the clues. It may be time.

Has there been change in your business strategy? Your brand strategy is the “face” of your business strategy. So it almost goes without saying that a significant change in business strategy should provoke a long, hard look at your brand.

Have you acquired new companies or shed divisions? When your company acquires new ones or divides, it may mean a shift in business strategy. Or it may not. Regardless, it may mean you’ve left your brand behind.

Has your market changed around you? Lots of new players, new developments and new customers in your market? Your brand may be well-positioned to take advantage of emerging circumstances. Or not. Time to figure it out.

Ad Agency Principals…Tell Your Clients That You Can’t Build Their Brand

Advertising doesn’t build brands, the brand is built by the organization and the promise is then communicated by the advertising.

David Ogilvy said: “What you say in advertising is more important than how you say it.”

I couldn’t agree more. Sort of. Here is where we differ. Consumers ain’t dumb…in fact, they’re smarter than ever as a result of today’s information-centric world. When they shop, they arrive armed…for the most part…with information, comparative pricing, consumer reviews, etc. And the challenge to brands, manufacturers and retailers alike is to be prepared, flexible, honest and efficient dealing with the customer. And that is true in the business-to-business world as well as the business-to-consumer world.

So yes, Mr. Ogilvy, what you say in advertising is more important than how you say it. But you can’t stop there. Or even start there.

You see, advertising doesn’t build brands.

Heresy? Not at all. It plays a critically important part of the communications stream…whether it’s a webmail, an outdoor campaign, post or tweet or a television spot. Advertising informs, alerts, inspires, reacts, communicates, announces, excites, pleases, annoys and lots of other things – but it does not build the brand.

And that’s where most companies fall flat on their faces.

A brand is built from the inside out and the delivery of that identified and committed-to brand promise is handled by employees. Think not?

Once an organization has discovered its brand promise and identified what it aspires to be, all the advertising in the world is not going make the difference, especially for the long term. In fact, without the support of engaged, enthused, empowered employees, the promise made by the tactical communications is going to hurt more than help, because what the consumer is expecting (or led to expect)…is not being delivered.

According the Nunwood Top Brands Report of 2011 the organization ranked the top ten brands based on customer excellence. The results are all steeped in delivery by and from the associates of these best brands:

Common among all these leading brands:

Excellence is achieved:

By managing complex branded customer experiences

By doing more than just listening to customers

By consistently and dramatically wowing their customers

By managing word of mouth, both offline and on.

“Brand Culture” Is The Root Of Excellence:

  • Employees Who Genuinely Care
  • An Experience That Feels Personal
  • Customer-based Innovation
  • An Ethical Approach To All Things Customer
  • A recognition that things can go wrong – but when this             happens, the situation needs to be corrected in extra-fast time.

  http://us.nunwood.com/top100us/Home.aspx

As agency principals, we need to seek out and work with clients that want to (or have) built the brand from the inside out. Where the “why” of the organization exists – the brand’s unique, distinctive deliverable aspects live there anyway, so work from this vantage point first. Internalize, then externalize. That’s where you build the brand.

That’s what the Brand Establishment is all about. Teaching agency principals how to guide the brand discussion with their clients.

Is Brand Juice Worth the Squeezing? Let’s Talk ROI.

These days, it seems that any business recommendation provokes the same response: “What’s the return on investment?” And—where brand issues are concerned—the question is often met with uncomfortable silence or a snide remark about “our disco-era logo.”

In fact, it IS difficult to account for the return in brand development costs. Which makes it much easier to find the budget for lead generation, or direct marketing, or even—could it be possible?—traditional advertising. Because even though we know “half the money is wasted” on those things, we don’t know which half. And at the end of the day we may have a few more leads, sales, or awareness, all of which may eventually make the cash register ring.

But brand development, what’s that about? “Don’t know how to manage it, measure it, or fit it into the marketing budget. Take dollars out of my lead generation program and put it into brand development?  Why don’t I just get in line at the unemployment office right now?”

Okay, take a deep breath and repeat after me: “Brand development is not a marketing initiative; it is a corporate initiative.”  Your brand is not an advertising campaign or a lead generation tactic. It can—and should—energize those efforts, but it is not “a marketing thing.” It is the essence of your company. It’s reflected in your structure, your operations, in everything your company does. It’s whatever your customers and prospects think of when they hear your company’s name or see your disco-era logo. And—unlike leads—it has real cash value.

How much?

Well, if you work for Maytag, your company brand is worth about 97% of your company’s total value. (That’s right, 97%!) If you work for Dell, about 92%. Oracle? 91%. Where do those numbers come from? They represent the value of those companies’ intangible assets: the difference between their market cap (total value) and their book value (tangible assets). They’re the cash value of those companies’ perceived ability to fulfill customers’ expectations into the future. They are the value of those companies’ brands.

But how do I measure the ROI on my brand?

First of all, let me say that obsessing about every penny of ROI is not the best way to go about developing a brand. Well-developed brands pay out in many ways over the course of time: in stronger sales, higher margins, more focused operations, and more effective marketing, just for starters. There’s plenty of return to be gained here. But because most of these secondary effects will be measured within the context of regular investments in marketing, sales, etc., they shouldn’t really be “double counted” as return on the brand development investment, itself.

Those are returns on operating income anyway. And as we’ve seen, a brand is an asset, albeit an intangible one. So the return on the brand development investment is measured not in operating income, but in the improvement in the value of the brand as an asset, the Brand Value.

With that said, let me point out that The Brand Establishment has a pretty nifty tool called the BIA (Brand Insight AssessmentTM) that nicely measures how an organization is delivering upon its brand promise.

Why Brands Need Enculturation

A company’s brand should extend beyond surface level internal and external recognition. It should live within the organization – within every department, from engineering, human resources, manufacturing and finance to business services, customer service, sales, distribution and marketing. The Brand Establishment’s Enculturation™ process is exactly what companies need to achieve complete success with their brand development initiatives.

Too often we see organizations get excited about their new brand identity only to watch the leadership and employees lose site of the brand promise, fading back into old practices. Then the brand promise gets lost. Through the Enculturation process, companies identify all the ways to better “walk the talk” and get everyone marching to the brand beat.

The first step in launching an Internal Brand Adoption initiative is for the COO and executive leadership from all areas to gain understanding of the importance of Enculturation and the value it brings to the organization. The executive team also learns the processes that must be hardwired to ensure that the internal brand is sustained.

Since Enculturation is an organization-wide initiative, there is tremendous value to having each department participate in the investment of Internal Brand Adoption, not just human resources or marketing.  The process includes a discussion around the organization’s existing internal brand adoption challenges as well as potential growth scenarios. From there, discussions turn toward how the organization can implement a strategic internal brand initiative.

Part of the process is to identify a Brand Champion. This person frequently resides within the marketing area but can come from another area within the organization. Of paramount importance is that the whole organization knows the Brand Champion has the full endorsement of the COO. Once the Brand Champion is identified, we develop the Brand Pillar.

The Brand Pillar, led by the Brand Champion, is a group of key individuals from each company area who have the authority to ensure that the internal brand initiatives that the Brand Pillar adopts are hard-wired and put in place within their areas. Initially, the Brand Pillar meets weekly to develop the Internal Brand Initiatives. Once the initiatives have been launched, the Brand Pillar moves to monthly meetings for the first six months, and then eventually moves to quarterly meetings as they review the brand adoption initiative and make necessary adjustments.

By stepping outside their silos and working together, employees help build the internal processes that ensure everyone within the organization is delivering upon the brand. When employees truly engage with the brand, the results can be powerful!

As one of just a few Certified Brand Strategist firms in North America, we provide counsel, proven processes and creative brand development strategy programs that transform your brand identity into a valuable asset.                   

Our Brand Strategist Philosophy

Brand Savvy

                   

 
 

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