By Amanda Creger
As marketers, we’ve heard it time and again: “Your brand is so much more than your logo.” Experienced marketers all shake our heads in vehement agreement.
So, why do so many companies still fail to create a consistent, meaningful brand experience? Because they still treat ‘brand’ as a marketing initiative.
Internal v. external brand definition
Most organizations establish their mission, vision and values, and flesh out their brand identity system to reflect who they are. They often educate the organization and may even speak to how their culture is infused in their brand.
They create brand guidelines to help various stakeholders translate the brand visually and in tone of voice.
And then, full stop. Most stop short of fully actualizing the brand. The brand goes much further.
Being the brand—A brand In action
Great brands reach outside the marketing function to include all departments in brand understanding and execution. From the C-suite to field sales and customer service, operations/fulfillment, finance, and HR. All groups must understand the brand promise and how their group personally delivers on it.
Let’s use Tesla as an example:
Tesla Motors is known for innovation, from sleek designs to rave industry reviews on performance. Their mission is to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport.” But product innovation alone isn’t enough to fully achieve this.
When a customer recently took to social media to complain that charging stations were being used as parking spots (limiting availability to others who needed a charge) Elon Musk committed to fix it. Within days, his team devised a solution, creating a per-minute “idling fee” for those who leave their vehicle in the Supercharger spots more than five minutes after reaching full charge.
This is an example of reading and responding to customer experience in a way that reflects the brand promise.
Define the ways you can be your brand
How can you ensure your organization puts brand experience (and your customer) at the center? Here are three tips:
- Create brand promise standard operating procedures (SOPs) at the functional level. Marketers can work with the heads of each functional group to create personalized (SOPs) that outline expectations for how the team supports the brand promise. These can include: timeliness of customer response, return procedures, executive response and more.
- Understand—and commit to fixing—the operational gaps. When meeting with functional stakeholders, you may identify issues that are out of alignment with your brand promise. Fix these things. If you can’t, it may be a signal that you need to readdress your brand. Examples of this might be a company whose brand promises ease of use but has a complicated or time-intensive support procedure.
- Establish employee KPIs in alignment with your brand. Key performance indicators (KPIs) should be tailored to your organization’s business objective, which hopefully align with your brand. You want to reinforce not only product or service descriptors, but the behaviors and attitudes that support delivery of your brand promise.
Take your brand further
The next time you do marketing planning, consider putting new campaign concepts on the back burner. Instead, take your current campaign and extend it further into your business.
But don’t just put taglines on email footers. Figure out how to bring the customer into your business, and all critical connection points, and extend the promise of your campaigns into an unforgettable experience. Campaigns rarely last, but a consistent, committed brand stands the test of time.