People familiar with Oak & Apple know we emphasize the importance of developing a thorough brand strategy for companies and their sibling product lines. The basis for placing so heavy a burden on having a well defined brand strategy is that brand is focused on the customer…brand states what is promised and delivered every day to customers, profitably.
Brand is to business what a constitution is to countries. Developing brand strategies forms a platform for engaging top management in the thoughtful, deliberate statement of what a business or product family stands for in customers’ minds, both end-consumers and distribution partners.
The essential elements of brand development are:
a) sharp definition of who the customers are, including distribution partners, and what behaviors define them
b) the unique reasons a company or its product delivers emotional benefit to those customers better than competitors
c) product/service performance superiority or top reasons for purchase
d) proof of claim or reason to believe superiority statements, and
e) a brand character – a style guide in developing the look and feel of all communication.
Once established, brand platforms become reference points and organizing forums for how decisions are made. Decisions that not only pertain to advertising and sales collateral, but also standards for defining acquisition targets, leadership themes and even in the high stress environment during a crisis.
Without the organizing concept of brand, tactical decisions tend to be disjointed and often conflicting. Compare (1) the disarray at financial companies brought about by focus on executive compensation versus real fiduciary attention to satisfying customers’ needs; (2) J&J during the Tylenol crisis when Burke (Chairman) asked “What does our brand stand for?”. Reply: “Trust”. That conclusion led to the most massive product recall in history, saved J&J and Tylenol, and led to a decade of market share increases across all product lines.
Please share your stories about how you use brand strategy to lead your company or call us to discuss developing a comprehensive brand and leadership strategy with you.