Finding North

The 10 Brand Commandments … that most organisations have probably never heard

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1) There is only ONE centre-point to the Brand …

Brand values, Brand roll-out and Brand engagement depend on 100% clarity regarding the single differentiating factor, that defines the benefit derived from the Brand proposition.
Do you know what that single factor is for your brand?

2) Don’t borrow Brand values from competitors …

Authenticity is the key. Never look at competitor’s values or proposition until after you’ve defined your Brand’s Key Differentiators. Longevity & Impact are directly related to speaking your Brand ‘truth’ in terms relevant to your target audience.

3) Don’t make Brand promises lightly …

Always ensure that your organisation can safely deliver on its Brand promise, now and in the future. Create built-in Brand experience sustainability. Team and stakeholder buy-in and a properly embedded communications programme are critical ingredients for serving up Brand continuity long after you have switched focus.

4) Let the Brand be …

Following a thorough review and Board commitment to a Brand-led market engagement strategy, allow time and consistency to take its course. Every quarter, take a break from output-driven reviews and create environments where senior management, clients and/or staff can reflect and look forward, without pressures to make changes for changes sake.
Consider relationship-based engagement and keep the vision and passion alive through time-effective off-site or on-site Brand appreciation and exploration.

5) Honour the Brand ‘parents’ …

A brand is a collection of values and principles, usually derived in part from leadership figures and visionaries. Identify and protect those individuals who champion the Brand and ensure their input and presence remains on-tap via bi-annual or annual Brand programme reviews.
Brand achievement awards and Brand Impact recognition are recommended.

6) Don’t kill other Brands …

Brand survival, and especially Brand Impact are not dependent on the exclusion or extinction of other Brands. All marketplaces have a plethora of ‘characters’ selling their wares. Harness your Brand energy for positive engagement only.
Brand followers become Brand advocates because of what your Brand does and how it does it, never because your Brand has no competition.

7) Don’t get into bed with the wrong Brand …

Collaborations in marketing are well and good where mutual benefits are complementary. Where the ‘other’ Brand has strategic differences to yours or values that clearly clash, don’t be tempted by short-term gain, no matter the prestige or satisfaction imagined. Stay true to your values because your principles and values are the essence of what your Brand is.

8) Don’t commit Brand ‘theft’ …

Countless times we’ve all heard the ‘suggestion’ to “check out the competition”. You won’t find lasting satisfaction or true inspiration by relying on what your neighbour is doing. Only after you’ve concluded your Brand Impact review, by all means check what’s around you to improve your positioning and messaging to achieve stand-out and crystal clarity. Never base your proposition on your competition.

9) Don’t abuse facts or misrepresent data …

To help your Brand, be ruthless about the truth. Authentic Brands like Levi’s, Coca Cola and Apple protect their Brands and build on realities that are sustainable. Do what you do brilliantly and stay your course. It may take time but look at NatWest (formerly a rather hated bank and) now living the Brand dream ‘there is another way’, delivering genuinely customer-centric services that currently leads the retail-banking sector.

10) Don’t resent other Brand’s successes and achievements …

Rather than dreaming of taking over another Brand, look within first. There is positive truth to be found in every organisation, you just have to know where to look. The sooner you activate the passion and pride ‘at home’, the faster your Brand turnaround will be achieved.

The author, Daniel Frohwein is a Brand Impact Specialist based in London. www.findingnorth.co.uk