I have made a career out of emphasizing the importance of branding, of developing an authentic brand promise and of always delivering on it. It’s not enough just to have a brand, you have to have a brand marketing strategy. And I’ve shown that by executing that strategy, you can improve communication effectiveness, cut marketing costs, and build a stronger relationship with your customers.
What I have never really focused on is how your brand marketing and brand strategy becomes an extremely powerful decision-making tool for management. Senior executives should be using that tool every day.
All too often, after a business successfully completes a branding or re-branding initiative, they roll it out, throw a party and then forget all about it. “Hey, the new logo is out there, right? Let Marketing run with it.” With this kind of attitude, it won’t be long before the brand marketing is in the weeds again.
And if you don’t have a strong brand strategy, get one fast. – Kevin Walker
I’ve heard Steve Jobs really hated the words “branding” and “marketing.” Jobs believed those functions should not be segregated from the rest of the company. Instead, they should permeate every aspect of the business and literally be built into the product. This belief formed his obsession with design, user friendliness and customer experience. As ironic as it seems, it is because of his approach that Apple is now unsurpassed in branding and marketing.
Your brand is too valuable to be left to the Marketing department alone, no matter how good it may be.
What is Brand Marketing Viewed through the Brand Lens?
Jay Gould is a turnaround specialist and, currently, the CEO of American Standards, a manufacturer of bathroom fixtures. But, before that, he worked his magic at Newell Rubbermaid, Graco and Pepperidge Farm. Gould is first to say that his successes come, in large part, from “viewing all decisions through the Brand Lens.”
Use the brand lens to ask how each management decision you make will affect your brand.
Look at the market leaders in every sector. They all use the Brand Lens as a decision-making guide.
Imagine your company is facing a significant strategic decision. You’ll have a number of tools to help in making the decision. These may include financial models, operational considerations, etc. But before you pull the trigger on the deal, take a moment to view the choice through your Brand Lens. Ask yourself if saying yes or no to the decision will help you keep your brand promise or if it will contribute to a drift away from that commitment.
If you have a strong brand strategy – one that you believe in – then, by all means, make the decision that will do the most to help you keep your brand promise. Never do anything that will make it more difficult keep that promise.
The Brand Lens can be applied to less critical decisions too. Case in point: A loading dockworker left his post to help a customer find his destination within the factory. While he fell behind on his schedule, he turned the customer into a life-long brand champion.
The Brand Lens is a powerful strategic tool. Make it available to everyone in your organization, not just the marketers.