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    Entries in Branding (2)


    Solid Brands Are Timeless

    A strong brand should never become obsolete. Branding and marketing alike require a thought out process that allows for accountability and excellence to drive the brand forward. Before discussing the power of a well-developed brand, it is important to define what is not a brand. An established brand is not a fad or a trend, but rather remains timeless and relevant. In recent years, the ‘live strong’ yellow bracelets worn by cyclist Lance Armstrong have become quite a popular item.

    The bracelets original goal was to raise awareness and support cancer research. The bracelets became more of a fad then a brand, as once the ‘newness’ fell away, the public was off to the next market trend. Brand power is ultimately about longevity, as brand power develops the market around them, growing with the clientele. The bracelet example illustrates the importance of marketing, but also shows how a popular trend does not necessarily lead to a developed brand. A strong brand requires a commitment to quality, market momentum and industry leverage. With these three things in place, a product or organization can work towards moving past the trend stage and into a well-developed brand.

    Developing a strong brand is not an easy task, but must be planned, strategized and effectively orchestrated. A healthy brand builds deep relationships with their consumers, and has their hand on the pulse of what the market needs and wants. With longevity comes the ability to set products and ideas not around what the consumer wants today, but rather match what they wanted yesterday with what they will want tomorrow.

    In saying that no brand can last forever, critics negate many past examples of brands that have stood the test of time, and offered like Coca-Cola and Tide Detergent. These brands have continually adapted to market conditions without compromises the core values and objectives that have remained strong since their inception. Ultimately, for a brand to remain relevant across generations means that a comprehensive team committed to excellence has worked with a superior product or service over time.

    Brands that fail to remain competitive either lack one of the three key elements discussed, or are simply a fading trend. Brands that succeed have found a way to make it work. Whether it is giving the choice to customers like Burger King, or just creating a popular and desirable product like Coca-Cola, successful brands stand the test of time because they demonstrate the ability to set them apart and do what it takes to succeed.


    Employees: Owning the Business without Owning it

    It's an age old discussion.  You can't just grant/sell shares to anyone that asks, but yet...there is an attitude and altitude (of service & commitment) that comes with ownership.

    Some brands have been able to do it, some try and fail, and others just don't try at all...believing that they (the owner) is 100% committed and they will get somewhere between 25% and 75% from their staff at any given time.

    A pessimistic outlook...of course...but what else would you expect?  I believe that there are 3 keys to helping your employees "own" without owning.

    1) Treat them fairly and with respect at all times - Pay them well, treat them like adults, give them the benefit of the doubt...all of these things are basic management 101...but many business owners lose control of their staff simply because they either stop caring or start focusing on the wrong things.  A happy & healthy staff is a productive & loyal one.

    2) Leverage their knowledge & understanding of the business - One of the best resources you will ever find is not in a consulting report, but in the minds of your staff.  They know things about your business and customers that you have no clue ask!  How can we improve? What are the 3 most common problems you hear from customers? These questions enable the conversation to move from the present to the future.  Good staff want to stay with ask them what they want the company to look like in 10 years...because keeping them around that long is great for both of you!

    3) Use words like "our" instead of "my" and "we" instead of "I" - This is the real way to ensure you get the most from employees on an active and continual basis.  By involving them and giving them ownership through verbal cues, you are in essence tasking them (as a part of their job) to own the portion of the business that they are responsible for.  For example, "Our clients need to be served in the most efficient way can we ensure that happens?"  By involving them in the process of development (internal & external) you provide them with a sense of belonging and the ability to look beyond the 9-5 job and see the bigger picture.