When Tom Peters wrote the article, “The Brand Called You,” he said, “It’s time for me– and you–to take a lesson from the big brands…in what it takes to stand out and prosper in the new world of work.” Your brand is what is different about your company, so you need to capitalize on this unique quality. Brand recognition is critical to attracting and retaining customers.
Brands are one of the differentiation factors that have long-term impact on building customer loyalty. Differentiation can be accomplished with excellent brand recognition and superior products and services to back it up. Brand is what is immediately recognized by your customers for the following reasons:
– Builds preference over competitors
– Forms connection with customers to build loyalty
– Creates shareholder value
– Defines reason for being
– Encapsulates company’s value and strength
– Ensures competitive advantage to meet customer needs
Position your brand to make the sales decision easier for new customers and build loyalty with existing customers. Some organizations that used to be major are now a shadow of their former selves. These organizations have lost their strategic advantage. You need to guard against becoming one of these statistics. But, it is not just branding that creates value to your customers. For instance GE has been a genius at brand recognition with their evolving slogans along with the following equally prominent companies:
– General Electric: “We bring good things to life.”
– United Airlines: “Fly the friendly skies.”
– McDonalds: “We love to see you smile.”
– BMW: The ultimate driving machine.”
– IBM: “Solutions for a small planet.”
– Burger King: “Have it your way.”
– Coca-Cola: “It’s the real thing”
– Nike: “Just do it.”
The goal of these slogans is to build preference for their brand over their competitors. Take a closer look at your brand and decide your positioning. The most effective way to consider changes to your brand is to hold brainstorming sessions. You may even want to brainstorm your positioning based on changes in your products and services. The discussion should also include how you can leverage your brand in your advertising, media relations, website, etc.
Brand brainstorming sessions should be executed at two different levels. First, the president and executives from each key area of the company should define the key attributes of the new branding by answering the following questions:
1. Does your brand stand out among others?
2. Does your brand position the company for growth?
3. Does your brand build a strong foundation for the future?
4. Does your brand build loyalty with your current customers?
5. Does your brand hold the key to attracting new customers?
6. Does your brand attract new employees and increase retention?
After senior management defines the new brand positioning, the president and executives develop a brand positioning statement with the company’s business philosophy and brand essence. Senior management communicates the brand positioning statement to all employees to raise the importance of delivering on the new brand.
Then, each business group brainstorms how the individual, departments and organization will align their activities to support the new branding. Finally, each group also defines the tangible benefits of the new brand positioning for their customer base.
The goal is to continuously strengthen your brand position for the future to imprint its unique quality in your current and future customers’ minds. The flexibility to change and ability to re-invent are two keys to ensure your brand recognition in the marketplace. Fast reaction to your brand creates a dynamic environment that results in building preference and loyalty to secure premium pricing and positioning in the marketplace.
Sandra W. Evans has 25 years of business experience at American Express, First Data, Standard & Poor’s (S&P 500), a division of the McGraw-Hill Companies, and two student loan non-profit’s, NMEAF and ISAC. Her credentials combine a MBA degree and progressive levels of experience as manager, Director, VP, CFO and EVP. For more information on brand innovation see “Rx for Business: Thinkivity” about strategy and innovation at www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Rx-for-Business–Thinkivity and eBook providers.