I do not know of a business or a person who has successfully communicated their Brand, and failed to succeed in business or life. The key to communicating one’s brand is to know your Brand. Many businesses are too busy making or selling products, providing services and trying to get into the marketplace – that they fail to understand, develop, maintain and communicate their Brand. We can think of failed industries that lost sight of how to communicate of their Brand. The automotive industry did this from the 1980 to 2010. I can point to current companies that were dominant leaders in revenue that are starting to lose Brand Identity some say this is happening to Microsoft. I can point to retailers large and small that are at risk of shutting their doors because they did not know, maintain and communicate their Brand – Sears and JC Penney to name a few. In fact, JC Penney is currently the best example of a strong company that lost its way, hired the wrong leadership, created the wrong marketing plans, picked the wrong endorsers and may not survive because they failed to remember, instill and communicate their Brand.
Brand is the umbrella of your business. It should be the engine that drives the entire company, from marketing to sales, from management to training, and from products to innovation. Brand is what helps a company to evolve with the changing times and markets. Brand is what helps you pick the right employees and establish protocols for dealing with disgruntled customers. When things are going well and the sales are piling up, it is Brand that makes certain the company is prepared for changing needs and leads to research and development. When the rain and tough times come, it is Brand that keeps the doors open and manages the expectations of the employees and the customers. It is the UMBRELLA that shades the company in the profitable days while the company is growing and keeps away the bad weather when the sales cycle starts to drift downward and competition enters the marketplace. Brand is what makes certain a company is here today and 100 years from now. Brand is the seed of a business that keeps reproducing it over and over again.
Brand should be highlighted by no more than 5 or 6 words. Brand is communicated the second someone pulls up to your office, your company, your store or sees one of your employees at work or in the field. Brand starts at the top and is visually known at every level of the business. Brand is what creates the freedom to be creative but keeps creativity focused on what is important. Brand is what makes the budget work, and is the mother of all marketing.
Do you know your Brand? Do your employees know your Brand? Can I pick out your sales force from a sales force of 20 different companies? Does Brand give you control of the environment around you – or are you a reactionary leader and find that you are putting out fires all day long? Does Brand build your personal service firm, law firm or medical practice, or do you rely on clever slogans and expensive advertising programs that may or may not work? Could I describe the core values of your life, your business or your legacy based from what I saw when I met you, walked into your place of business or looked over your marketing programs? If not: then look out. You may be bathing in champagne today, but the vinegar is coming. By the time you notice the difference, it may be too late. Brand is everything!!!
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