Thursday, March 02, 2006

What Creates a Brand?

So what does indeed 'create' a brand? Or define it? or Affect it?

Internal and external factors affect or influence a brand.
The internal of course being its employees. Their belief in the message that the brand carries, and the belief turning into telling others about it!
Employees as brand communicators are so strong many carry the message through several organizations their career journey takes them through.

The fact that 'employees leave bosses' and not organizations is hammered home time and again in every seminar that people experts attend or deliver, and several experts make a living out of. So what logically remains is that the employee carries the 'brand' message that the organization is across when they leave and join other companies. They indeed tell their new friends, bosses and others about the 'great' things that were in the previous organization, and several times also implement the same best practices they experienced in the previous organization.

Now it is up to the organization to carefully craft the message, and demonstrate the message.

However, an interesting aside, Is not the leader of the organization the organization itself?
Does it then mean that people leaving the 'organization' are in fact leaving the leader ( remember people leave bosses..! ) and that they do not believe in the brand or the message associated with the brand ? something to chew on.. a bit complex. And in fact a different topic itself - why do people leave organizations or brands!

The other forces crafting brands are of course external.
Perceptions, Interpretations, recommendations, experiences, visibility, references, coverage, in the news and out of it, good news or bad, personalities or lack of the same, viewpoints and quotes... all go towards defining the brand.

Also, there is a difference between visibility and branding. Being visible is not necessary having a brand. Marketers are often told - we do not have brand presence, splash us across the country!
The CEO's question however should be ' We do not have a Brand, lets create one.

A logo is not a Brand.

It is just the name on the door. The brand is what lies behind the door.

Provided you have held it open for people to peep in and experience it.

And not everyone will walk in. Some will. And will either tell all that what a great place they have been to and that you must go there and what an experience!

The task of the marketing leader is to ensure the right people walk in, and tell others about it.
The marketer's role is also to ensure when they do walk in, the first time, and the next time, and again, to create and re-create and re-create the same experience that they will tell others about.

create the magic, work the magic, sustain the magic..

And this experience is not just the experience associated with services, but with all tangible touch feel deliverables that the brand is ultimately delivering.

But there is more to this. How do you get the first ones into the experience, how do you ensure they tell others, and tell the right people, and send the right messages..

more in my next post..