I get to talk with business owners all the time, and get to explain brand management and how it helps grow their business. Sadly, it’s an incredibly simple concept that’s made complicated by a lack of discipline by marketers and oversimplification by the designers, advertising firms and consultants that deliver superficial tactics – such as logos, taglines and inauthentic advertising – and call it branding.
In the name of clarity, I suggest a new, simplified model: the O.N.E. Way Brand Management Model.
“O” is for ONLY
Begin by being the only company that looks like you. Be the fastest, the most convenient, the largest, the friendliest, the coolest, the most conservative, the safest, the wildest…well, you get it. Be different enough that you’re not competing with any other brand. It requires courage and audacity,
Joe Calloway’s outstanding book “Becoming a Category of One” is a primer to help organizations earn a place, front and center, in the mind of their audiences. That difference puts them in a class all by themselves, where they are not compared to any other organization offering the same products or services.
“N” is for NARRATIVE
Being different is really scary if you aren’t able to explain it…quickly and simply. Even with the courage to stand out, organizations need a narrative that is truthful and engaging. It’s an elevator speech and a whole lot more. It’s a language and an attitude, wrapped in history and built upon a solid foundation held together by an organization’s core competency, standards and style.
In “All Marketers Are Liars”, Seth Godin documents the power of authentic stories delivered to the right audiences in a compelling manner. These stories are made even more powerful when they permeate the organization’s culture and every possible audience connection.
“E” is for EVERYONE
To have real impact, the narrative has to be shared by everyone, starting with employees. When employees understand the narrative, embrace the narrative and are equipped and empowered to use the narrative to make day-to-day decisions, it spreads like wildfire among customers, prospects, vendors, and strategic partners – even competitors.
When the story is integrated throughout the organization, marketing communications is more efficient, more effective and, most importantly, authentic.
Brand happens every day. Creating a unique story that everyone knows is the O.N.E. way to manage it.