The Question: BRAND, what does this mean to you?? Is branding important today? Many pundits and reports contend that brand loyalty is diminishing.
The Reason: We are experiencing a profound transformation in our customers’ behavior today. They are empowered by the Internet and assured by the enormous choice in every market segment. They are more fully informed about the products and services they want to buy and are armed with comparative data about quality, availability, and price. Today’s customers are determined to be successful on their terms.
The Result: we need to achieve clarity on how customers view our businesses. How important is brand?
Denise Lee Yohn is the author of What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest. She combines a fresh perspective, 25 years of experience working with world-class brands including Sony and Frito-Lay, and a talent for inspiring audiences. She is a leading authority on building and positioning exceptional brands.
There are a lot of books about branding. Many are inspiring about what a brand could be, but not pragmatic. You ask, “Yes, but what does it mean in practice?” This book doesn’t leave you hanging. What Great Brands Do is relentlessly practical.
Denise starts by discussing the results of The Association of National Advertisers survey of product managers and CMO’s from a wide variety of companies across the US. Almost two thirds of the respondents reported that brand did not have an impact on the key decisions of their companies. In other words, brand was not aligned with company actions. They were not gaining the full business value of their brand.
The Lesson: Her message is that great brands can be built to boost profit margins, improve company culture, and create stronger stakeholder relationships. “Great brands are purposeful in everything they do.” Yohn teaches an innovative brand-as-business strategy where great brands make their brand their business, not something they add on to their business to make it look better.
Here are her PRAGMATIC seven branding principles that separate the best from the rest. Great brands:
- Start Inside
- Avoid Selling Products
- Ignore Trends
- Don’t Chase Customers
- Sweat the Small Stuff
- Commit and Stay Committed
- Never Have to “Give Back”
Principle 5 addresses the importance of sweating the small stuff. When you read the book, check out the section titled “Valuing the Customer Experience.” Then take her challenge to do business with yourself – order your own product online, call your own phone number, anonymously request a follow-up call, etc. (WHAT WAS YOUR RESULT?)
Next Steps: I highly recommend this book. Start with one or two principles. Apply them in your business. Your branding can help your company become “First Choice” with your customers!
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