Skip to main content

When the CEO dismisses the brand

To brand an organization effectively, you have to start at the top – with executive leadership. The CEO (or equivalent) must be totally committed to the concept of branding and must drive the brand throughout the organization. Otherwise the organization cannot effectively display the right image at all the points at which it reaches its stakeholders.

If you understand the concept and the importance of brand, this much is obvious. But there are still leaders that “don’t get it.” I believe that there are basically two reasons why.

  • The first is that they literally don’t understand branding at all. To them a brand is Coca-Cola or Disney or Starbucks. It’s a marketing or an advertising gimmick. It doesn’t apply to the widgets they produce. It’s flighty and self-promotional and frankly, stupid. It has nothing to do with the organization believing in anything, or communicating a unified image to the outside world. Branding, to them, has to do with creating a TV commercial and maybe buying some ad space in a magazine or two. That’s it.
  • The second is that they refuse, on principle, to operate according to the rules of brand – which is that it is fundamentally your image that creates value for the organization. Even though that image is derived from real actions taken by the company, they don’t want to hear it. They want to focus on actions first, and image later or not at all. They actually believe that they can run the company without paying attention to the image that the company’s actions create. This belief is magnified by the fact that there is little in the way of well-known tangible evidence that “branding” creates real value.

What can you do when your organization’s leader dismisses the brand? That’s a good question…I wish I knew the answer to it. But the first step is to understand what is blocking the CEO in the first place—whether it’s one of these reasons or something else. The road to convincing him or her to implement the brand begins with unblocking the invisible barriers that are lying in the leader’s path.

(See this for more on the importance of the CEO leading the branded organization and for a couple of examples of brand return on investment.)

Popular posts from this blog

What is the difference between brand equity and brand parity?

Brand equity is a financial calculation. It is the difference between a commodity product or service and a branded one. For example if you sell a plain orange for $.50 but a Sunkist orange for $.75 and the Sunkist orange has brand equity you can calculate it at $.25 per orange.

Brand parity exists when two different brands have a relatively equal value. The reason we call it "parity" is that the basis of their value may be different. For example, one brand may be seen as higher in quality, while the other is perceived as fashionable.

________________
All opinions my own. Originally posted to Quora. Public domain photo by hbieser via Pixabay.

What is the difference between "brand positioning," "brand mantra," and "brand tagline?"

Brand positioning statement: This is a 1–2 sentence description of what makes the brand different from its competitors (or different in its space), and compelling. Typically the positioning combines elements of the conceptual (e.g., “innovative design,” something that would be in your imagination) with the literal and physical (e.g., “the outside of the car is made of the thinnest, strongest metal on earth”). The audience for this statement is internal. It’s intended to get everybody on the same page before going out with any communication products.Brand mantra: This is a very short phrase that is used predominantly by people inside the organization, but also by those outside it, in order to understand the “essence” or the “soul” of the brand and to sell it to employees. An example would be Google’s “Don’t be evil.” You wouldn’t really see it in an ad, but you might see it mentioned or discussed in an article about the company intended to represent it to investors, influencers, etc.Br…

Nitro Cold Brew and the Oncoming Crash of Starbucks

A long time ago (January 7, 2008), the Wall Street Journal ran an article about McDonald's competing against Starbucks.
At the time the issue was that the former planned to pit its own deluxe coffees head to head with the latter.
At the time I wrote that while Starbucks could be confident in its brand-loyal consumers, the company, my personal favorite brand of all time,  "...needs to see this as a major warning signal. As I have said before, it is time to reinvent the brand — now.  "Starbucks should consider killing its own brand and resurrecting it as something even better — the ultimate, uncopyable 'third space' that is suited for the way we live now.  "There is no growth left for Starbucks as it stands anymore — it has saturated the market. It is time to do something daring, different, and better — astounding and delighting the millions (billions?) of dedicated Starbucks fans out there who are rooting for the brand to survive and succeed." Today as …