As marketers, we tend to measure our brand through the eyes of our customers, then model our culture after their vision. This is a backwards approach to brand building that strays brand leaders down a winding path of chasing the next sale and pandering to every customer’s demands. Your customers are smart: they abhor weak leadership, won’t tolerate mimicry, and can sense an impostor a mile away.
Your best customers will love you for who you are.
Brands that are true to who they are attract like-minded customers and forge a sincere bonds that will strengthen over time.
1. Brand Values: Its in your DNA.
Values are the genetic information that a brand is born from and will shape it’s behaviours. These behaviours include, but are not limited to: your internal culture, how you motivate your employees, how you choose your partners, how you make investments and, most importantly, how you engage and interact with your customers. Great brands use values to guide business related decisions that will help align them right customers and the right employees.
Whole Foods is a great example of a brand that has constructed their entire business model around some important key values.
2. Brand Vision: Follow your North Star.
Brand vision as a concept that is a long term, blue sky ideal, that an organization should aspire to achieve over time. It is the guiding light that helps to inspire employees about what they seek to achieve as a collective force. Each of us have a vision of what spire to, for that reason successful people, much like successful brands, follow their passion with purpose.
Dove uses their vision to focus their mission and activities, enabling them to make a global impact.
3. Brand Mission: Get Mission Critical.
Brand mission is what drives an organization forward, it defines what you do, who you do it for, and how you do it. Your employees are actively working on completing it and with each mission success, we get one step closer to achieving our vision. A mission helps to inform a organization’s more granular day-to-day decisions around activities. A workplace that is aligned on their mission works faster, harder, and more effectively to achieve goals.
Nike leverages their mission to guide their business across the globe.
Working from the inside out.
Human resource professional advocate for organization-wide alignment because they understand the positive impact it has on organizational culture and business success. Unfortunately, human resource professionals are not always the most effective assets for influencing culture. Smart marketing departments are starting to take their human resources seriously by aligning their internal teams before looking externally for validation.
Great brands like Lululemon do not seek approval from their customers and seldom waste money buying media placements. Their culture is a force to be reckoned with, wielding word of mouth advocacy that even the biggest advertising budgets cannot buy. Their secret is not in their product, it is in their brand and their fanatically engaged internal and external stakeholders.
Putting it to work.
Recent work has brought me intimately closer with a large home builder that experienced transformational success over the last 25 years. Their brand journey required evolution to keep pace with a highly competitive, fast evolving marketplace.
Often organizations forced to change with a marketplace struggle to stay rooted to their brand focus and veer off course.
Fortunately, they recognized their brand weakness and we collaborated to rebuild their brand from the inside out. Our work realigned their brand with the newly established values, vision and mission that will serve as a sturdy foundation for decades to come.
Regardless of your age, size, category or challenges, you can also build a meaningful brand that will inspire your staff, boards, shareholders and customers. If you are finding yourself questioning your brand relevance, look inward for the answer.