A couple of years ago I wrote a short piece based on my experience undertaking brand consultancies with some of Australia’s largest (mainly public) organisations. My obsession was, and is, as a user or consumer focused marketer.
In my mind this involved transforming the organisation rather than merely positioning or packaging the brand, as so often happens.
Though the points I made are by no means unique or highly detailed, I think they stack up pretty well a couple of years on.
Now I’m in a web start-up, perkler.com, that will fundamentally transform the loyalty and rewards market by making it consumer driven. Brands will interact with consumers as one of their complete loyalty portfolio. In our minds this is a true reflection of the consumer reality, rather than the direct, singular, transactional relationship most brands crave and convince themselves exists.
The bonus is by engaging with consumers in this way brands have a much greater chance of creating meaningful relationships with consumers – creating advocates rather than targets.
So, the following are my thoughts from 2004
By getting ‘Inside the Square’ first, you can save in the end.
A common mistake made by companies undergoing change is to make cosmetic changes first.
In most cases the results are obvious. Internal change that is largely cosmetic can quickly be identified by monitoring staff feedback or uptake. The success of cosmetic changes to product offerings can be measured by sales and support targets.
But when it comes to your BRAND in the market place, cosmetic change can result in negative impacts to your reputation, market position and long term viability that can be hard to pick up until it may be too late.
In simple terms, if your capabilities don’t match the slick look and feel delivered by the creative agency then your clients, customers, staff and shareholders won’t be fooled.
Cosmetic changes alone often reflect a DESIRED BRAND. But the real brand of a company isn’t chosen by Executives in Boardrooms. It is set by the interactions and experiences your customers have with you on a daily basis. If there is a difference between your promise and the experience of your customers then you are actually building an ACCIDENTAL BRAND without even knowing it.
Being able to define BRAND can help you manage it – I see the core elements of BRAND as a combination of:
1. the strength of your explicit goals and vision
the company’s intent
2. the behaviours of your people and performance of your systems
the company’s internal capabilities
3. the range, quality and performance of your products and services in the market
the company’s public commitment
4. your connection and relationship with your clients or customers
the market’s response to your public commitment
You are simply not in control of your own brand if you don’t work hard to maximise your
company’s potential in ALL of these areas.