Building Brands, Inside Out
Creativity and the Brand Value Chain: Looking beyond face value
When you come into contact with a person, you naturally form an impression based on: how they behave, how they look, how they speak, their reputation, and so on. And, these impressions shape how you will react to them.
A brand is not viewed or treated any differently. It is an image for itself; how it looks, speaks and behaves based on a promise of some nature. Depending on the congruency of the above, positive or negative perceptions are created in the minds of the consumer. And this experience of the brand will ultimately affect both the bottom line and customer loyalty.
In today’s world, we are seeing a direct correlation between brand and business performance. Zara, as a largely talked about example, is listed at number 51 on Forbes’ World’s Most Valuable Brands List 2017, valued at USD 11.3 billion. Zara is renowned for its promise to develop a new product, being the latest in designer fashion and getting it to stores within two weeks, while other retailers may take longer.
Despite its reputation for doing no advertising, the key to Zara’s success lies in the fact that it does a substantial amount of brand-focused work. First and foremost, it delivers on its promise: the latest fashion products, at affordable prices, delivered in record time. Consumers have seen it, they have heard it and they have experienced it.
In considering the success of brands such as Zara, we need to remember that there are three key components to human and brand behaviour that all of the worlds top brands drive and leverage successfully, these are:
- Thought – identity, belief or promise (i.e. Brand Promise/Purpose);
- Word – a thought expressed, or promise expressed (Communication);
- Action – moving words, or promise delivered (Brand Delivery).
When committing to a brand promise, you as a business leader need to be very sure the business can deliver on that promise/action; if you can’t deliver, don’t make the promise. This means ensuring the right systems and processes are put in place, and most importantly, having the right people in the business, doing the right jobs for the right reasons, people so committed that they will literally live to deliver on your promise or belief.
If these are not in place, you can expect disappointed customers, a tarnished reputation, an erosion of trust, loss of clients and, essentially, a negative impact on the bottom line.
Brands are built from the inside out, not the other way around, they have got to be lived, not just spoken about. While it is the role of the marketing department to manage the congruency of the brand and deliver a congruent message, it is not the role of the marketing department to manage the brand.
Business leaders, it is critical that every employee understands and always acts with the vision and promise in mind. A brand is far too valuable to be managed by one department alone, every employee is critical in delivering the brands promise to customers, no exceptions.