We all know the corporate drill of revenue and market share being the single biggest company purpose. And that the tactics and programmes you implement to achieve those business targets become your strategy – your ‘how to’.
Then there is organisational culture that purists overlay into the strategy mix to keep behaviours in check. Plus, the ever-growing do-gooder empire to have a strong link to CSR and ESG which are actually extremely important and relevant given the current state of the world.
But where does the brand fit in now? These days brand has to evolve to be far more ubiquitous in a company’s DNA. Now more than ever is brand able to shape and drive a company’s purpose and actually turn corporate strategy on its head.
A leader I once worked with said; ‘Take care of the brand and the revenue will look after itself.’
In today’s economic and societal climate that becomes an epic task.
First there is technology. Stay still for a second on the digital curve and you will lose. In an App-convenient lifestyle with byte-sized attention spans and global platforms emerging and evolving at a rapid pace – not to mention the gig-economy, metaverse and crypto all merging to become your parallel universe V-Life…! Brand Boffins, keep up!
Second, there is humanity itself. Brand relevance and authenticity must run deep into society and pull at the tenterhooks of your target market. Choose your pillars for Change for Good carefully. Long gone are the salad days of donation and sponsorship token gestures. Find partners that share your beliefs and can provide mutually beneficial value exchanges. “Our brand stands for…and that is why we back…and value our partners….” Get your elevator pitch ready and your brand voice out there with transparency, honesty, confidence and credibilty.
Thirdly, there are your people. The team you build to carry your brand DNA into your customer base. One bad egg can spoil the cart. Brand marketeers must look closely at employees and to set the behaviour and attitude accordingly. If your company isn’t ready for full-blown Internal Comms programmes then focus on the frontline and leadership team – those who face the public most. Then tackle the ‘frozen middle’ managers with poor people skills. Don’t forget, they must all buy-into your Change for Good programmes and be advocates and highly visible in doing so. Crime doesn’t crack itself. You need to be on top of all the issues around equality, diversity and inclusion, bullying, racism, and more.
And now to customers. Your core tactics should be centered on Always On Engagement, frequent Customer Delight, fresh ways of service delivery, simplicity (with a sprinkle of complexity for the niches who love it – gamers, geeks, specialist segments ). Disrupt to Excite. Old school traditional is as boring to customers as a blackboard is to a seven-year-old hooked on Pokémon. This is why I haven’t mentioned NPS, CSAT… ooops just did! Of course there are givens, but brand people need to push for more.
So take it all in. Look at your landscape and beyond. Levitate your brand to where it really should be because that’s where your customers expect it to be.
Consider your opportunities around Technology, Humanity, Employees and Customers.
If you give your brand the respect, thought and time it deserves you will discover the one thing that becomes the beating heart of your company. That one thing that makes your competitors sit up and take notice…and then follow…
Your Vision, Mission and Values – then your brand essence, proof-points, tone of voice, look and feel and messaging and everything else…will follow suit.