If you buy or purchase products, chances are, you submit to a brand. Whether it be your favorite toothpaste Crest, workout gear Under Armor, or salad dressing Ranch/Hidden Valley, these brands makeup products we consume on a daily basis. The significance of the brands we choose to support tells us just as much about ourselves as it does the organization. Price, product quality, promotion, and storytelling, all play a part in understanding the brand culture and the importance of Organizational Identity.
This blog post will highlight 10 steps necessary for brands to establish their identity in a competitive market, along with how those practices benefit the overall health and vitality of the organization.
The Heartbeat of a brand, lies within its Story
Every organization has a story that sets it apart from its competitors. For instance, Morris Reeves, founder of North Carolina established fast food chain Cook Out, manages to incorporate is religious practices onto its products. On the hamburger wrappers or milkshake cups, customers can find Bible scripture references and inside the store, it is encouraged to play Christian music (Creel, B. 2015) Brand storytelling is “using a narrative to connect your brand to customers, with a focus on linking what you stand for to the values you share with your customers “ (Brenner, M. 2018).
Brands Need to be Authentic
Just like in the dating world, nobody likes meeting a representative. Naturally that same rule of thumb applies to organizational brands; where consumers like to get what they’ve paid for. Being authentic leads to better understanding, trust, comprehension, receptivity, and more (Patel, S. 2019).
Consumers Need Something they Can Relate To
With marketing embedded in environments where customers communicate with friends and family, they naturally gravitate toward those they relate to the most. Brands that want to appear more relatable must gain a close understanding of their audience, their interests, their concerns, and their sense of humor (Patel, S. 2019).
Great Brands don’t just Sell Products
Organizations must not solely rely on their products to sustain consumers, but rather they must work to ensure that consumers have an emotional connection to their products. People buy according to how brands make them feel, or what they identity they help them experience and express (Yohn, D. 2014, p. 12).
Check out this Campbell’s soup commercial that reminds us of the connection between brands and emotions
There’s Always a Hero in a Good Story
The main character in your brand story is not you; it’s your customer. Your customer has to be the hero to make this work. Your brand is the guide (Brenner, M. 2018). Too often, the customer’s experience of a brand is an afterthought among many businesses. To bring the experience front and center will take nothing short of internal transformation. Acknowledging that the world is changing is certainly a start. But how customer’s behavior is changing, how it’s impacting decision making, and how that decision making is affecting the business landscape is what must be documented, communicated, and shared within the organization (Solis, B. 2013, p. 23).
Give me Loyalty…
The best way to reach a customer who’s deciding what and when they’ll buy is to stop pushing your products so hard and focus more on why your business exists at all. When you tell this story and explain your values you’ll engage the customers who share your values. When you find people who share your values, there’s a much better chance they’ll stay loyal to you (Brenner, M. 2018).
Hold the “Trends” please.
Trends may help attract attention in the short term, but they can change so quickly that you always put your brand identity at risk by following them (Yohn. D., 2014, p. 12). No consumer likes a brand that fluctuates or lacks consistency. Once a consumer finds a product that they admire an appreciate, then frequent changes can become an issue for the consumer.
A Teacher named Experience
As per Albert Einstein, the only source of knowledge is experience (Solis, B. 2013, p. 52). Organizations must recognize the failure in any aspect is not optional; however, how they handle those setbacks is what differentiates their brand from others. Consider the issue that Starbucks had with racial profiling a few years back. That issue could have resulted in the demise of the brand; yet, they proved to be a sustainable organization by ensuring that they learned from the issue and took measures to further correct the matter moving forward. Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you (p. 60).
Great Brand commit and Stay Committed.
Focusing on the core of your brand – and staying committed to that focus – is key to building a strong brand. Organizations that stand the test of time must have a core ideology. Like the fundamental ideals of a great nation, church, school, or any other enduring institution, Jim Collins, writes core ideology in a visionary company is a set of basic precepts that plant a fixed stake in the ground: ‘This is who we are; this is what we stand for; this is what we’re all about’ (Yohn, D. 2014, p. 156).
Brands are People too
With major celebrities, it’s difficult to tell where the product stops and the person begins. The brand equity of major celebrities (Oprah, Michael Jordan) is inseparable from their personal lives, which are documented in breathless detail in the magazines lining supermarket checkout aisles around the world. Having jumped from products to celebrities, it was only a matter of time before branding trickled down to the average citizen. As the personal branding phenomenon works itself deeper into the fabric of modern life, it’s warping how we see each other, and how we see ourselves (Conley, L. 2008. 177).
Organizational brand identity is still very much relevant as the demands of the customer evolve, so do the requirements of the business and how they reach consumers. In previous times, the process of creating a successful brand relied strictly on word of mouth, now however; brands can be made or broken in a matter of moments through tools made available through technology.
Nonetheless, building a successful brand is similar to birthing a child. Nobody cares about growing pains they just want to see a pretty baby. That baby, my friend, is the success of your business.
Brenner, M. (2018). Brand Storytelling Defined.Retrieved from: https://marketinginsidergroup.com/strategy/brand-storytelling-defined/.
Conley, L. (2008). Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The Illusion of Business and the
Business of Illusion.Philadelphia, PA. Perseus Books Group.
Patel, S. (2019). 9 Companies that are Killing it with Brand-Driven Storytelling. Retrieved from: https://sujanpatel.com/marketing/7-companies-killing-brand-driven-storytelling/
Solis, B. (2013). What’s the Future of Business? Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences. Hobokon, NJ: Wiley.
Yohn, D. L. (2014). What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principals that Separate the Best From the Rest. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.