What comes first, the chicken or the egg? This well-worn conundrum has long prompted thoughtful contemplation and lively debate and not only about the subjects of creation and evolution. In reality, the question is used much more as a metaphor for establishing the linier heritage for just about everything. In a marketing sense one could metaphorically ask, what comes first, the brand or the core essence and values representative of the brand, those actions of the individuals that guide all the messages, products and services through the organization?
Building a successful brand goes well beyond the companies top-end leadership establishing a commitment to a set of ideals, missions and objectives, it requires critical involvement and buy-in from an organizations employees and associates in all operational levels. Adobe’s Karl Isaac, director of brand strategy, has noted that “when done right, brand becomes part of the culture of the organization, and what it stands for.” A successful brand becomes integrated within the individuals and embedded into the fabric of the enterprise. Establish a dedicated team of brand advocates by following a few simple steps:
Identify who you are and your reasons for being.
Your brand will only be relevant to your customers if it is believable. Walk the talk and deliver on the promise of the brand. Involve employees and make them a key part of establishing the brand. The process of development needs to create a brand culture that excites, educates and enrolls the entire organization to become brand advocates
Educate advocates on the brand heritage and purpose.
Provide a full understanding of where the brand comes from, its promise and how customers get value from it. Encourage and insist on each associates understanding of the core principles of the brand. Their unwavering involvement in delivering on the brand promise and fulfilling the customer’s expectations is critical to their participation in the company’s success.
Connect the brand to each employee and their specific functions.
Make the brand tangible to all employees, showing them what their role and responsibility is in the brand experience. Linking the brand to each ones function is vital to understanding and advancing the core principles of the brand.
Leaders must lead by example.
Management at all levels of the organization must live the creed and set out a clear personal and professional example of support for the brand ideals. All behaviors and managerial practices must gravitate towards fulfilling on the brand promises.
Most importantly, successful brand building is not a project with a defined beginning and an end, but rather a living and breathing process that requires long term commitment to the ideals, values and mission of an organizations leadership and fellow advocates. It requires dedication, persistence and patience extended over time to establish and maintain successful brand awareness and creditability.