Optimizing The Model Asset | Branding Technique Insider
It is almost impossible to escape the ubiquitous influence that brands have on our lives. In the broadest sense, brands are organizational mechanisms that help us navigate through every consumer day. What we drink, eat or drive, what products we use at home and at work, where we play or go on vacation, where we live, what we see, what we read and even who we interact with and how are often decisions made by Branding informs or shapes. That means they are a function of the values and perceptions that we have about companies, products, services or even television programs, people and places that form in our minds.
You have gained an impression of all of the above, sometimes a strong one, sometimes a weak one. This perception is based on any mix of inputs that you have been given, whether intended or not – previous interactions, something you have read, heard or observed, and yes, formal marketing communications such as advertising.
We all develop our brand perception based on this full range of direct and indirect stimuli, but many companies – even large, global and demanding ones – often seem content to address only a narrow part of these stimuli and then typically only use the traditional ones Marketing tools for advertising, sales promotion and packaging. Not surprisingly, boardroom and cocktail talks are held about the latest retail advertising or a popular TV spot. However, it is far less common to hear how a consumer interacts with a seller in a way that reinforces the intended meaning of the brand.
Despite the ubiquity of branding and the overwhelming number of companies and executives involved in brand marketing, not many companies have used their brand effectively as an asset.
For some selected companies, however, brand optimization has become a fundamental element of their overall business strategy. At every turn, it creates important leverage points for competition and directly increases sales, profits, goodwill and market capitalization.
They know that the real value of their brands isn't just clever ads or billboards, although advertising is certainly an important part. It's not just about packaging, the website or social media, even if they are certainly important. Instead …
A great brand is a set of consistent, positive associations and values created by the sum of customer interactions with a company, its products and services, and all messages from all media that bring the company and its employees into the environment.
Communicating these consistent values and messages creates consumer expectations, and strong brand perceptions create an unspoken brand promise, an expectation of future value.
The customer experience is the focus of every brand. Research has consistently shown that people reward companies whose products and services meet or exceed their expectations and punish those who are neglected. Rewards come in the form of brand preferences and customer loyalty that translate into revenue. Punishment comes in falling sales and eroded reputation.
Customer interactions and desired experiences
However, many companies do not seem to realize how fundamental it is that all customer interactions are seamlessly and effortlessly geared towards the mutually beneficial experience.
Those who understand the true meaning of their brands will use their brands to influence their entire organization and lead to highly satisfying and mutually rewarding interactions. This has made Southwest Airlines one of the most respected airlines, and Coca-Cola has been providing a consistently refreshing experience to millions of consumers around the world for more than 100 years.
There is a story of effort and commitment behind every major brand, and it is not easy to provide a consistent brand experience. It takes strong leadership and a clear vision, combined with employees who share the vision and work every day to make it a reality for every customer. Constant monitoring is also required to ensure that things stay on track.
Since your goal is to develop compelling and actionable brand strategies that can be implemented effectively, you need to develop a planning process that enables your company to identify and apply behaviors that lead to an improved customer experience and sales growth.
Most companies first ask four simple questions about brand development:
1. What is the status of our brand today?
2. What is the desired condition for the brand tomorrow?
3. What needs to be done to activate the brand across the company?
4. What ongoing measures are required to ensure that the brand promise is consistently implemented?
Who is responsible for asking these questions?
It's the Brand Guardians, of course.
Honest and solid answers to these questions are important points for learning and inspiration as you build a strong and lasting bridge to your customers and a bigger future for your brand.
You can find these and other key ideas in my latest book, The Brand Bridge – How to Establish a Deep Connection between Your Company, Your Brand, and Your Customers.
At The Blake Project, we support clients from all over the world at all stages of development. Redefine and articulate what makes them competitive in critical moments of change. Please email us for more.
Brand Strategy Insider is a service from The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy that specializes in brand research, brand strategy, brand growth and brand building
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