You don’t own your brand, you earn it!
You may own your brand identity.
You may own the copyright and your trademark.
You may determine the standard of your service and level of value that you provide.
You can try as you might to spend millions shaping and cultivating brand awareness.
But ultimately you will never actually own your brand!
Why? Because a ‘brand’ is given to you. As a cattle herder will brand his cow.
In this context it might be easier for you to conceptualise if you refer to your brand as your ‘reputation’.
In this context, it will quickly become apparent that you don’t ‘own’ your brand. In fact, it might alarm you to consider that I own your brand. Your customers own your brand. Everyone but you actually owns your brand!
All you own is the means to earn a brand that befits the perception you want to give. And despite the shock of learning that you don’t actually have ownership of the one thing you probably thought you had greatest control, knowing you have the means to earn it is an extremely good thing!
Because reputation is judged not by what you say you’re going to do…
But by the actions you take.
Just think about that for a second. How many times has a friend or a company made a bold promise that they’ve failed to deliver? Have you judged them by what they said they were going to do? No, you’ve judged them by what they didn’t do!
And I’m sure you’ve been guilty of this of few times yourself too, both personally and professionally?!
Thankfully you won’t be the first company to make a promise you can’t deliver and you won’t be the last! And this is to your advantage. For if you want to build a reputation that you can leverage it is well within your power to attain it. But you must ‘earn’ it the hard way and stop shirking responsibility to your marketing team to achieve it!
You must go back to basics and review your core strengths and capabilities. Reconnect with your customers and why they love you so much. Look beyond your own hype and marketing collateral. And go in search of a quality and value that resonates with your very being, that you can call your own.
If you don’t know where to start, then perhaps you should…
- Be bold enough to ask your customers what promise they would really value?
- Examine what your competitors promise and actually deliver, or not?
- Explore gaps and opportunities in the market place that are not currently adequately satisfied?
- And verify that you’re actually in a position to do something better than anyone else, and of worthy of value?
Once you’ve identified this ‘quality’, then carefully construct the internal processes necessary to guarantee consistent delivery, time and time again. Consider how to make it part of your trademark service. Start to make customers feel valued and cherished again. Make a point of going far beyond their expectations.
Then once you have established your reputation based on merit, then craft your marketing message in accordance…
and not before!
‘Branding’ in this context is not really a marketing word, and neither should you give or want to give your marketing team the responsibility to protect it either! Your brand is the responsibility of every employee, starting initially with those capable of shaping the service delivery.
‘Marketing’ can assist in the process of building a brand…
But they’re merely facilitators not cultivators.
The good news is, you have the power to shape how others percieve you and you are entitled to empower your entire organisation with the means to uphold your reputation. And once you realise that, then you can really start to work brand magic!