Is marketing still holding your brand hostage?
Despite there being no apparent shortage of "experts", many organisations continue to struggle with the concept of branding. This is evident from looking back over the last decade at companies, who had once commissioned firms to help with transformation, and how little they've actually advanced since.
Even in today’s more sophisticated market, there remains serious misalignment between branding and marketing. I believe this is for two main reasons.
The first is that branding as a function within the marketing department continues to cause confusion as to its role within the wider business and leadership context.
The second is the accepted process of branding has evolved to adapt to this misunderstanding. Where organisations fall short in addressing business strategy challenges, organisational alignment, measurable execution and anticipated performance.
With many branding programmes either being cancelled or postponed, the global financial crisis did little to advance strategic thinking.
For branders, board room doors quickly closed and they suddenly found themselves pushed downstream. Strategic value was well-and-truly compromised, as business and brand fluency-levels dropped, and conversations shifted from strategic capability and creative expertise, to logo or brochure design, urgency and price.
While we saw many agencies and firms fail to manage revenue and cash-flow, in the long-run, short-term austerity measures and the empowerment of marketing departments with brand, has done little to advance the private sector.
As the economy continues to evolve, ethical consumerism and corporate consciousness grow. And, with governments focused towards societal happiness, renewable energy, as well as supporting and encouraging leaders of tomorrow, there is an exciting opportunity to recalibrate and correct trajectory, for good.
For organisations wishing to stand out and make a difference in the world, there is very little value in the "generic", design-led approach to branding or rebranding. As a key business asset, inextricably connected to your purpose and reason-for-being, brand is responsible for all value delivered to your stakeholders — whether an employee, customer, investor, partner or supplier. With purpose-led brands proving to deliver greater affinity, which in turn fuels longer-term engagement, and greater profitabilty.
By sharing inner workings, and inviting participation and contribution from within, organisations who subscribe to a dedicated process will develop strong brand leaders, managers and champions. People from inside and outside the organisation who are aligned to a vision, empowered and committed to achieving shared value and of course, sustainable success.
It's imporytant not to underestimate the importance of collaboration, top-down.
The most effective change comes from allowing specialist consultants to work across the organisation, top-down, helping leadership to plan and managemnt to facilitate effective and measurable transformation.
Branding is both a strategic and creative process and, is most effective, when organisational leadership, business strategy, goal setting, responsibilities and communications are properly aligned. Only then can an organisation truly achieve sustainable and measurable brand value.