Your brand is: “What the customer says it is, through their thoughts and feelings about their experience (real or perceived) with it“. How you make people (customers) feel is 10x more important than what your organization makes, sells or does. On the contrary, a brand is NOT just a name, trademark, logo, packaging or product.
In order to guide customers to perceive your brand in the way you desire, I have created these 5 steps to drive a long-lasting brand experience:
- Define/Document it: You have to define how you would like your brand to be perceived through the eyes of you customers. For example, at one healthcare organization I worked for, we wanted patients (our customers) to feel that their every need was being taken care of. We simply designed what that experience should be.
- Enable it (Communicate, educate): Put the right programs in play that help the world understand who you are and what you stand for.
- Live by it (hire, lead): Culture, Culture, Culture. What more can I say…every aspect of the company culture has to reflect your brand promise. This is likely the most important aspect of your brand. Employees must live, breathe and display your brand everyday with every interaction.
- Monitor it: The saying goes, “You can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” or something like that. The point is, if you do not monitor the effectiveness of your brand, how will you know if it resonates? The truth is that it is hard to quantify your brand experience. However, it will be reflected in customer/employee satisfaction and revenue. If those 3 are improving over time…you are doing something right.
- Reinforce it: It takes time to drive the brand. It has to be continuously reinforced internally to ensure that everyone stays in line. From an internal perspective, people in the organization may get bored with the messaging and have the desire to keep things “fresh”. Try to avoid this at all costs…consistency is key. It will take the external market much longer to get bored from your messaging. Keep at it!
At the end of the day, you have to spend the time and the money to understand how you want the organization to be perceived and then start working towards that perception.