What makes Great Brands Great!
In this blog, I will highlight the points why great brand companies such as IBM, REI, Starbucks, IKEA have been successful with their approach in Branding that drives their culture, company operation and customer experience. A successful company will attempt to grow and succeed even in tough economic conditions, regardless of their size or budget available to them. These companies follow the seven principles that separate the best from the rest.
There is a famous tale about a king who built a very strong fort to resist enemy attack. It was a castle that was impossible to penetrate. However during a war, one of his gatekeeper for one gold coin, opens a small unguarded door at the basement for the enemy and the fort was lost.
The scenario is no different for any company today. No stakeholder works alone in a company. They need to constantly work with other stake holders such as vendors, distributors, agencies, and strategic partners. If one of these stake holder are not on board with your brand values, you may have a problem on hand.
Culture change is a very important thing for any Brand, and has to be fully enforced within the company before it will have an impact on the outside world. Imagine going to your favorite coffee shop in a new city, and asked by a unruly barrister "What do you want?". Culture of the company has to be adapted at all level of the company, before it can be adapted by the outside world.
Products are not important, how you connect with your customers is more important. Your customers drive your business, and so it becomes more important, as how you develop emotional connection with them. Many times, due to this connection, they opt for your product though it may not be exceptionally better than your competitors. And we have to keep in mind that one size doesn't fit all. Each customer is different, and how you connect with them individually matters more.
"We don't sell houses, we sell Homes" will make a more better connection with your customer than "We sell affordable houses" or even "We built excellent houses"
The problem with a brand that will follow a trend, is that they are a trend. Trends come and go over time, and if you create a brand to fit a particular trend, then as soon as that trend is over, your brand also may die. Hippie fashion of the 1970s is dead, but the colas from the 1892 still thrives due to its strong branding and consistency.
Many brands fails, as they attempt to chasing customers, which is similar temptation as following trends. If you chase and then allow someone to take advantage of you, you’re sending the message that you’re disposable. Right from the start, failure is almost guaranteed. It may increase your revenue in the short term, but the brand identify will be compromised for the long term.
Have you seen a iPhone selling lower than 300$. You think the company is not capable of mass producing cheaper phones? They have realized that their brand is not for all customers. They have identified their target customers and remain focused on them.
I remember an incident years ago. I was interested in a property in a different city, and I had to catch a flight to reach there. The personals at the agent office were very courteous, and made me comfortable from the beginning. The site manager explained the project, provided a good snack etc. The site was about 50 miles away, and I had to pay for that which I didn't mind. According to the instruction of the manager, the driver provided me lunch on the way and was chit chatting along the way.
After the site inspection, while returning back, since it was late in the evening, I was to meet the manager next morning. However to my shock, the driver dropped me 10 miles before my hotel and told me you can get a bus from here. I had some difficulties getting back to the hotel. I made a point not to return to the agents office the next day.
Sometimes trivial matters, maybe really trivial may be harmful to the customer experience with your brand, and so, it is the brand responsibility to ensure that they sweat over the small stuff.
Action speak more than your word. This is one of the most difficult principle to keep, and only the greatest of the greatest brand manages to keep it. Sometimes this may lead to temporary short term loss but it will build the essence of your brand value for a very long time.
In 2008, the West Coast hamburger chain Carl's Jr. launched the "Pink Star Campaign" in support of the National Breast Cancer Foundation. However, what appeared on the surface to be a noble attempt to show concern for women fell short of the company's long-standing advertising strategy of portraying scantily-clad women suggestively eating the chain's products to appeal to young men.
These are only a few examples of the problems with most of corporate social responsibility's (CSR) efforts these days. Consumers aren’t falling for the trick anymore and more than 60% consumer feels they are not sure if they want to trust such companies.
Great Brands are redesigning their business models, redesigning their supply chains, developing re-invented products, and reevaluating what they sell and how to sell it in order to make a significant, sustainable positive impact on society. Their mission is to create value for customers, employees, suppliers, communities, and shareholders.