For me the most exciting thing to happen over the past 14 years is the recognition of the value of building elegantly aligned brands to drive customer satisfaction, repeat and recommendation. The really successfully aligned brands are developing new skills and capabilities to power even more brand driven competitive advantage in their sector.
On the other had it also galls me to see so many trying and failing, it really doesn’t have to be like this.
So what is the common denominator of the successfully aligned brands and what can those who are on the journey learn from the success of others.
Many businesses create brand visions in the vacuum the workshop with teams of people far removed from the operational delivery end of the business. What they articulate seems to make great sense at the time only to be found wanting when the operations team are told to execute it at the sharp end of customer contact. I know this only too well as I have lost count of the number of “translation” jobs we have done to help the customer facing teams know what to do and what is being asked of them.
The “vacuum created vision" may well be powered by deep research based customer insights and it may seek to set the direction, tone and differentiation for the brand but all too often it makes no sense to the teams who are expected to deliver it and gives no clear guidance about what they need to do.
How, then, can the managers of a business make sure that their visions, ambitions and brands are driven through the business in order to stimulate its customers and potential customers to think, feel and do positive things rather than negative ones.
The simple truth is that the delivery of an aligned brand is no different than the delivery of any significant investment plan aimed at improving a modern business’s competitive performance.
- A collaborative team pulled from across the business
- Guided by a clear and well-articulated inspiring vision
- A clearly defined starting point for alignment
- An envisioned view of what success looks like driven by the brand vision
- A fully developed route map to get the team from A to Z and monitor progress
- A quantifiable measurement process that tells the business if it is moving towards it goals or away from them both internally and, most importantly, with customers and potential customers.
Simple really, but then this does represent the 90% of effort.It must, however, be a rigorous process that builds an inspiring view of the journey ahead that shows everyone involved what needs to be done, who is doing it and when it needs to be done by as well as enabling them to see the importance of their contribution at any moment of time along the journey.
Without this rigour brand alignment is just like any other badly planned project and will wither on the vine letting both your teams and customers down.