Two perspectives on brand…

…and one fool-proof way to be certain you’re doing excellent brand work

The world’s most recognizable brands think about “brand” with a capital “B.” When defined and nurtured properly, brand is a guiding principle for how an organization interacts internally, with its audiences, with its products and services, and anywhere else its journey leads. Effective brands are true to the organization, available and differentiating in a competitive landscape, and resonant with your audience. Unfortunately, organizations with capital “B” ambitions often get little “b” work from their brand staff and partners.

My career included stops at prestigious advertising agencies working for successful companies with well-known – and often well-executed – brands before leading me here, a consulting firm that reveres Brand. Along the way, I’ve learned there’s a universal characteristic of great brand work.

And, it’s a lot simpler than you might think.

Talk to people

Clients can always list, with conviction, all the things they know for sure about their customers. But when we ask them, “When’s the last time you talked to them?” the answer is usually, “never.”

Advertising agencies tend to lean on secondary research, data, and the occasional survey to stay in touch with their customer base. Those techniques are fine for supplementing what’s really important to cultivating a good brand – customer empathy. I’ll confess to being guilty of writing brand briefs, in a past life, entirely based on my intuition and after reading a few articles on the subject matter.

Not anymore.

Knowing what’s true to your organization comes from engaging the people responsible with making it run. Finding an available position is one part knowing what your competition is saying and one part understanding what your shared audiences hear in those messages. Establishing something that resonates with your audience combines organizational truth with competitive availability and sharing it with customers.

The only way to be sure if you’re right on all three fronts is to ask.

If it’s been a while since you talked to your customers or your staff, give us a call or shoot us an email. We’ll be happy to help you start the conversation.