Changing a look and feel of a brand is one thing. Fundamentally changing an organization though brand is something else altogether. It requires a deep commitment and a disciplined process, and the ability to listen – to stakeholders, to customers, to competitors, to history. The result of these efforts becomes wildly worth the effort when everyone is aligned, brand values and personality are established, and clarity is given to an organization.
Finding And Defining The Authentic You
Far too many organizations try and solve marketing through a short-term initiative or campaign. However, in the age of the empowered consumer, we no longer live in a world where there can be a sliver of difference between your outward brand and the experience your customers receive. Therefore, there can be no variance in your people, your mission, and your message.
How do you get there? By challenging. By involving. By building consensus. By inspiring. And by working through the organizational conflicts and opportunities. Our work does not begin with ideas. Our work starts on the ground. Asking questions. Listening to stories. Unearthing.
Through years of trial and error, I believe I have discovered the shortcut to success: there are no shortcuts. The process of brand alignment is one that must examine hard truths, shaking up long-time internal structures and beliefs, and defining exactly what has always made you great – and what will continue to make you great. The process can be difficult. The result is amazing.
What Is Brand, Really?
Messaging, mediums, conversations, customer experience, customer support, the people you hire… all are components of brand. The greatest brands in the world have a brand presence, an internal culture, and a customer experience that are indistinguishable from one another. There is no confusion in message, because everyone lives and breathes the message every day.
Oftentimes, there is a disconnect between departments. Between managers. From leadership down to the front line.
“There is no delineation between your brand and your people. They are one and the same. Their stories are yours. Their experiences are who you are.”
Risks Of Inauthentic Customer Experience
What happens when brand expectation and reality don’t match? Disaster. And in our world of customer empowerment, it only takes one moment to unravel everything.
Today’s consumers begin their brand relationships in ways our agency predecessors couldn’t have imagined. They no longer trust brands. They can’t be easily influenced by what you say you are.
They listen to each other.
Through online ratings and personal stories, the truth becomes revealed. If you are misaligned on any level, your problems will compound. Why? Because not only do you get a bad review, you are seen as a brand hypocrite. You tell me you’re great, but my eyes, ears, and community of those around me are telling me something different.
Reward Of Alignment
If however, your brand is saying, acting, and delivering in a way that is true to itself – good and bad – then you become trusted. Maybe even loved. This is the secret to brands that discover sustainable success. They begin on the inside. And they fashion their message, their medium, and their culture around the truth.
This isn’t painting a house that has noticeable cracks and paint coming off. This is about the hard work of scraping off the old layers. Of sanding. Of finding the original surface. And then painting something that is made to last for decades. Not a year or two.