IS YOUR BRAND
‘SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS’? If your brand was extraordinarily good or wonderful, you’d hear Mary Poppins* say this so hard-to-pronounce word. Is your brand worth the effort? You may be able to answer this question after reading this article. In general, brands are promises. A brand connects people to what you do and promises experience. Most people think a brand consists of exterior elements: the brand name, the logo, the tag line, and perhaps an acoustic element. However, thinking of a brand this way is like thinking of your significant other as a collection of skin and clothes. The essence of a brand is not only the exterior elements, but how people feel about your product or service as consumers, and how they feel about your company as employees. When you consistently keep delighting customers, it adds value to the brand; and, customers may even forgive the occasional flop. If you keep your promise as an employer to employees when they join your company, the promise you made through your brand in your external communications and during the interview process for example, they may stay for a long time and subsequently create value – for you and your customers. Your employees may also become your brand advocates. It is all about expectations of both parties involved, set out at the start of the process of engaging with your brand, and how these expectations match reality. And naturally on the other hand, irritating customers and employees extracts value from the brand and the brand suffers. ‘Branding’ has a dozen different meanings; however, in the end it’s about finding and articulating that special spark which makes you stand out. After all, standing apart from others is one of the few things which makes a brand great, as almost everyone would agree. In addition, every brand can and should be able to tell a story. This holds true as much for corporate brands as for their more seductive B2C counter parts. The story starts conversations with stakeholders. It builds value. It defines your brand. Tereza Urbánková is a PR, communications and marketing professional with over 15 years’ experience and proven success in industries such as hospitaality, retail, IT, defence, broadcast, logistics and engineering. For the past seven years she has been working and living in London, UK; currently she is Manager of Global Communications for AMEC plc, a large international engineering consultancy. Tereza also works as a freelance consultant in the area of communications and PR. She speaks Czech, English, Spanish and Russian and can be reached on email@example.com or through her LinkedIn profile.
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Why storytelling? Communication is the lifeblood of a corporate brand which exists largely in the telling of its story: clearly, compellingly and coherently across all channels. However, it’s truly amazing how often this is absent in the corporate world, where a devotion to facts and an addiction to jargon prevents many people from applying lessons learnt at their mother’s knee and reinforced everywhere they turn. A child doesn’t say “read me a list, mummy”. Nor does your audience. At the very least it demands (probably unconsciously) a thread that binds together what you have to say in a way that makes sense logically, and engages emotionally. With the volume of competition that businesses face in most industries, and many messages out there, it’s never been more important to stand out and develop a unique identity and value proposition through strategic branding. What makes a great story? Whether your story is old and tired, non-existent or just, frankly, wrong, the path to salvation might be just round the corner. You can start asking yourself questions around where you currently are as knowing your brand position is crucial. How well is your story known? Is it genuinely interesting and memorable? Is it driving you where you want to go? Once you have the answers you can direct your effort to where you could go, i.e. what kind of brand or organisation you could be to meet your overall corporate mission; how you position your brand, considering who you want to appeal to; how you want people to feel about you and what you could do to achieve that. At this point it might be good to consider where you can’t go as a brand or company. The next question is – where should you go? And as your story starts to shape, that’s the time to refine it ensuring it ticks all the key boxes and stands the test of time. Does it give you standout? Does it feel true and inspire stakeholders? Finally, consider how your story should be told, to whom and in what voice, and through which channels. Eight traits of successful brands There are many definitions about what a successful brand should be like; here are eight traits for consideration: Innovative Great brands focus on innovation and improvement. They avoid becoming stagnant and complacent. They don’t settle on their current level of success and neither should you. Focused Truly remarkable brands are always the most focused. They know what they do and they focus
on doing it well. They know precisely where they are going. Passionate Remarkable brands not only love what they do, they love why they do it. It’s their passion that keeps them moving and pushing forward. Passion is greatly underrated in business. Passion is what can get you through the late nights working through a challenge. Consistent Successful brands are undoubtedly consistent. You can rely on them. You can trust them. Inconsistency opens a door for your customers and employees to go somewhere else. Flexible Great brands are willing to change and adapt. Look at Virgin and Apple for example; they are not the same companies today as when they started. Competitive All great brands have a strong competitive spirit. They use it to motivate themselves. Competition makes you step up your game and improve your product/service. Leadership Behind every great brand you can typically find a great leader. But what makes a brand truly remarkable is when their leaders create a culture of leaders and achievers. Distinctive As I said, the best brands have something that makes them stand out. Something that is different than everyone else. There are many ways to approach a brand. This article covers foundations that can be the first check list you tick when re-evaluating your brand. With the right approach and real brand promise, consistently delivered to your stakeholders in an engaging way through the right channels, there is no doubt your brand can be ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’. By Tereza Urbánková ■ * ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ means extraordinarily good (Oxford Dictionary) and was popularised by the 1964 film Mary Poppins české znění naleznete na našich stránkách www.leadersmagazine.cz
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