If you don’t know the core of your brand, what you want to solve, offer or help your customers with, how should anybody else know - or care, for that matter?
Most marketeers know how to create a visual identity. Design a logo. Stick it on a product. Flash it to an audience frequently enough to build recognition and lower the barriers to choice, adequately to stimulate a preference or at least a buying decision. Many fail to add purpose to the recognition and create a real relationship. And transcend from the superficial ‘I know (recognize) you’ to ‘I am familiar with you’.
Perhaps this is not a major issue in a personal relationship with another individual, because it is in our DNA to read and build healthy interpersonal relations. However, in the relationship between a customer and a brand it is different. You need to be crystal clear about the big Why to instill it across an organisation commissioned to deliver the relationship in a cluttered fragmented universe, and build consistent positive impressions.
You need to be crystal clear about the big Why to instill it across an organisation commissioned to deliver the relationship in a cluttered fragmented universe, and build consistent positive impressions.
A purpose must be relevant and create meaning to your audience to be attractive. It has to be easy to understand for everybody. Simple to explain. Different from the rest. Credible and - it must be real, to stand the test of time. If you cannot find that in the delivery, you are heading for a hit&run interaction, not a relationship. The purpose is the promise, that you deliver to your customer, and possibly the way you do it.
To support the purpose, and build a coherent identity you need to ask yourself the reason for your existence. It may be in your heritage? A mission statement formulated by your founder? Or it may be the very reason, why you get up in the morning. A brand without a raison d’être, or a mission, if you like, is like a tree with no roots. It has no stamina and offers little resistance against adverse conditions - which is one of the important reasons to create a brand in the first place.
To find direction and guide the development of your brand it is equally helpful to have a vision of the future state - ‘if you can think it, you can do it!’ - for the brand. This is very often the gateway to the business strategy and should always be aligned with and nurture your strategic business goals.
Knowing what you do, where you come from and where you are heading provides a solid foothold for interaction with your constituents. However, succeeding will take more. Sharing your clarity with others will also require the ability to engage in dialogue with the relevant audiences.
Deciding how to add value, is a good start. Having a clear impression of your own values, or culture, will help you to develop the self-insight to engage confidently with customers. Help you understand them and respond effectively to achieve the perception you would like to have in the back of their minds - their recollection of your brand.
Those are the corner stones of a strong brand core. Used properly, they will help every individual in your organisation to find meaning and direction for the business and for themselves. They will drive product management and innovation consistently to meet expectations and positively serve your customers.
The corner stones should guide all types of interaction with customers and create a consistent halo of friendly recognition, whatever the product, the dialogue you undertake or the message you convey. And last but not least the core will help you find your way, as corporate citizen, and take the role as a responsible entity, not only for your bottom line, but also for the good of community - as it is increasingly expected by your surroundings.
When you succeed to build a strong core, you will be able to sustain and harvest this value to the benefit of your business over time, and take advantage of a lasting relationship outperforming brands (trademarks), that pose merely as sign posts for recognition of a product.
With a strong core you can build the base for a preferential status - veneration and even forgiveness (should you ever need it) in the minds of your customers. This strength will even help you succeed in a digital world, where demand is in shortage, supply is endless, and the battles for attention and share-of-mind indefinite.
This is my view of the matter, of course. I am curious to hear yours, and encourage any views or insights you want to contribute to our continuous development. Feel free to chip in by mail, or on LinkedIn and twitter. Thanks.