Opinions about branding by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Branding -- always a team effort

Branding should never be a solo exercise, for the following reasons:
  1. It requires the commitment of all parties in order to work—not only the parties involved in the branding process, but also those involved in delivering the brand—the frontline employee.
  2. It requires a deep understanding of the competitive position of the organization—and obtaining that knowledge should ideally result from intensive research and discussion with both internal and external stakeholders.
  3. It is extraordinarily rare that one person has the breadth of vision and depth of operational knowledge required to truly instill the brand.

At the same time, someone has to champion the brand and drive it throughout the organization. That is why the best operational structure for a brand is the chief branding officer (solo artist) + the brand council (team). The chief branding officer is:

“responsible for creating and strengthing brand names, and drawing real and measurable value out of them. This often involves not just product positioning, targeted marketing, but the identification of the components of a product or service that differentate a business from their competitors. Most CBOs work hand-in-hand with the head(s) of Marketing and Sales” (http://www.chiefofficer.com/faq.php)

The brand council is the team counterpart to the chief branding officer. See below:

“If the company is going to orientated (sic) itself around an 'on-brand' ideology, cross functional teams are essential. These teams, consisting of staff members from across the internal hierarchy, are the only method through which to place the brand itself at the heart of the business. 'Our experience has shown that the creation of a company brand council, consisting of staff members from all levels, is critical,' says Spark. 'This council can cut through internal dynamics and power plays inherent in any organisation and focus on the health, relevance and role of the brand itself within the company.'” (http://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/12/6072.html)

I know I talk a lot about brand councils, but they really are critical to the success of the brand. The brand cannot belong to the public relations/marketing communications department alone. It must belong to the entire organization. And for that to happen, a team must form to take the brand forward, even if it is led by an individual whose entire job is to shepherd the brand.