Brand is the most overused and most misunderstood word in the last 5 years. The dreaded ‘B’ word! It sends shivers down creative’s backs and sends young marketeers rushing into Borders to research missing chapters. Every company large and small thinks they are a brand and that by using that word as leverage, the tills will starts ringing.
Unfortunately it’s only the tills at Borders that are opening and closing with repetitive aplomb. Branding is a word too commonly referred to by advertisers and marketing people alike, but what does it actually mean? How can you get it? And most importantly; how will it benefit your business?
Let’s first get one thing clear – a brand is not your logo or your tagline. Those are important tools you use to express your brand. That is Mechanical Branding – but not the brand itself.
A brand is a unified, singular understanding of what your organization or company is about and how it is unique from the key audiences’ points of view. In English – it’s why a potential client or employee would choose you over your competitor. What makes you stand out from the rest? What’s it like to do business with you? It is you standing up, hand on heart and making a promise. And then keeping that promise. In a nutshell a brand is nothing but a promise of consistency delivered through communication. This is where a brand culture comes in to play.
To deliver the promise of consistency there has to be a structure and a culture that everyone in your organization or company buys into and agrees that it defines their actions and business momentum. This has to be bought into from the top to the bottom, from the CEO to the Receptionist, from the way the telephone is answered, the music on the answer phone, the production of the company brochure, the articles you write on blogs, and so on and so on. It is a repetitive consistent delivery of information and communication that defines the company’s creed and promotes the core values.
This creed is the cornerstone of the brand proposition and should be the anchor to business development. Great brand culture is a like a franchise, it is easy to replicate and roll out because everyone knows what it is and how to implement it. And in doing so with repetitive consistency the world sees your brand promise as a true unshaken deliverable, therefore promoting truth and confidence in the brand, whether that is a product, company or service.
McDonalds love them or hate them, is a great example of a pure brand deliverable culture. Whether you get a Big Mac from Montego Bay or Whitley Bay you will get the same service, product, experience and environment. That’s why they are a global brand, a simple brand creed delivered with great consistency. Anyone ever had a bad Big Mac? Or a bad experience at McDonalds?
Ok, so standing in a huge meandering line of hungry loud kids on a busy Saturday isn’t most adults version of fun, but we know what to expect the minute the dewey eyed children said ‘I’m hungry!’ and we push the heavy well branded McDonald doors and enter in and accept the brand and all it represent.
So why do most companies need a Brand Culture?
Well if you don’t implement one, how do you know what you stand for? And if you don’t know the how can the rest of the outside world buy into a company that doesn’t know who or what it is? Marketing isn’t rocket science, despite the huge section in Borders informing you so. People do business with people, or we certainly like to think we do. People buy into confidence and what is projected; it makes the purchase and decision less risky or flawed. A well-defined Brand Culture that is well implemented and communicated delivers a solid business platform in which someone will make decisions based on what is known. After all business is all about getting someone to purchase a product or a service based on information delivered. A brand culture is ultimately a persona with a promise. If you don’t have that, then how can you expect someone to buy off you?
So next time you’re pass through your office and you hear a phone unanswered for a dozen or so rings, think what message or signal that has left to the person on the other end? Next time you go to a meeting, look at the other person’s shoes, are they clean? Are they polished? If they are not, what does that say about the person and the company he represents. If he can’t take care of a small detail like that will he care as much for your business?
We are what we present, and what we present is what others will define us by. We buy into a culture and the brand persona on so many different levels. But large or small, multi-national or a sole trader we ultimately make a promise that has to be projected clearly, believed and finally delivered in a variety of communication channels whether it’s print, web, mechanical or human.
ARMADILLO CREATIVE LIMITED is full service marketing agency established in 2005. The company offers a variety of strategic communication solutions to a wide variety of clients both large and small.