- Take a Walk in Your Consumers Shoes. See the brand as they do.
- At every turn, ask yourself “DO I LOVE IT?” Reject all work that is “just ok”.
- Delegate But Do Not Abdicate Ownership of your Brand.
- Create a Culture around your Brand—Brand should be everyone’s job, not just marketing.
- Once you create a Beloved Brand, you should run your branded business as a source of Power that helps drive Profit and Value.
#1: Take a Walk in Your Consumers Shoes. See the brand as they do. It’s not just about doing research and finding consumer insights. It’s about experiencing the brand as your consumer does. Bringing the consumer into everything you do tightening the connection. In 2012, be the spokesperson who represents the consumer to your team and watch the work get better.
#2: At every turn, ask yourself “DO I LOVE IT?” Reject all work that is “just ok”. Moving your brand from indifferent to Like It is relatively easy: good product, smart investment and doing the basics right. But moving from “Like It” to “Love It” can be a herculean task. If you want your consumer to love your brand, you have to love the work you do. Look at the love Apple projects to its consumers through the magic of design, branding and marketing. Never let something out that’s “just ok”. If you’re indifferent, then you’re brand will be as well. Challenge yourself in 2012 to lead yourself with passion equal to logic and find a way to love the work you do.
#3: Delegate But Do Not Abdicate Ownership of your Brand. In 2012, stop saying a) “Oh well, the agency is the expert” b) “I never liked the brief” or c) “I never fully agreed with the Decision”. These feel like a cop out, and it makes you look like a wimp. Good brand leaders engage in the brand and lead it. Sometimes it’s delegating to the team to keep them motivatated, but just as many, you have to challenge the direction to ensure the thinking is sound. In 2012, stop acting like a Manager and start acting like a Brand Owner!
#4: Create a Culture around your Brand—Brand should be everyone’s job, not just marketing. There are hundreds and sometimes thousands of people impacted by the vision, mission and values you set out for the brand. While most people will think the Brand Manager leads the brand, it’s the collective wisdom of all those who touch it. From Sales People negotiating on the brands behalf to HR people who pick the right people to various Agencies, right down to the Editor who works just one day on your brand. Motivate them, embrace them, challenge them, lead them, follow them and reward them. Great people make great work and great work leads to great brands. In 2012, challenge yourself to realize that you need more than just you living the brand, you need everyone living and breathing it.
#5: Once you create a Beloved Brand, you should run your branded business as a source of Power that helps drive Profit and Value. You should be looking at your business through the lens of your brand. Yes, the brand promise sets up how the external community views your brand whether that’s consumers, customers or key influencers. But equally so, brand becomes a beacon to help guide behaviour, decisions, action, structure and the formation of a culture. You should drive your growth and profitability through your brand, with a focus on driving share, enhancing price while managing costs and finding new markets. Most marketers will tell you that branding is about positioning—it’s about being “unique”. I think positioning is a means to driving growth and making money—it’s about being “powerful”. The challenge for 2012 is to create a connection with your consumer that can be leveraged as a source of power for you to drive value and profit for your brand.
I really hope you try one of these out in 2012. And I hope you see the difference.
Happy New Year!