Friday, November 6, 2009

Thoughts on Brand

For those who wish to grow their organization and get measurable results on their bottom line making a commitment to building the brand is a great way to get started. A central idea around how to define brand is thinking about the organization how ever big or small as an individual person. What is the organizations personality? We relate to one another based on character attributes. We attract others or repel others with the signals we send and the body language we exhibit. So using the metaphor of individual personality to define the organizations brand can be a starting point to establishing criteria for what your organization is all about. Look at other metaphors my wife’s dogs have two distinct “dog brands” the Daschund is yappy, small and elongated. And her Border collie is needy, passive and pack oriented. Distinct different brands of dogs some dogs share attributes and some dogs have very different attributes.
Organization brand can be distilled into meaningful constructs if we think of what the personality of the organization is all about. Clients who have engaged gordongroup benefit from our BLM system. BLM stands for Brand Leadership Model. We have developed tools that offer diagnostic assessment of organizational process as it relates to brand. This system helps to establish terms of reference on how to go forward with an effective platform or foundation for brand building. gordongroup looks at the following areas of brand related process.

1. Brand Management
2. The Identity Framework
3. Brand Architecture
4. Brand Building

These four modules effectively capture each key element or paradigm of an organizations brand. An organization with no investment in design standards or stewardship, or governance for that matter will have these conceptual modules in place but may not be leveraging them to build equity or drive investment.
On the contrary smart organizations understand clearly these elements and have made major commitment to foster, support, resource and protect their interests as it relates to these four modules. I’ll provide a brief synopsis on each of the four modules.

1. Brand Management, Successful brand management requires people or persons within the organization to put in place the proper administration to control the organizations brand. A central office charged with protecting the brand against threats, which may include rogue communication by well meaning stakeholders or poor design standard application or even inappropriate customer service. These are very limited examples essentially it’s the “people” tasked with executing and controlling the brand internally and externally out to various markets.
2. The Identity Framework is not the mission, values and vision. The Framework is a well thought out description of the organizations personality starting with the idea of what is the essence of the organization. Many other specific constructs make up the Identity Framework. These constructs are useful to know if you want to develop a meaningful framework to support your brand investment. Getting the framework right often determines the success of the brand. Ultimately the framework needs to be meaningful and persuasive. It also should differentiate. The visual Logo fits in here as part of the extended identity.
3. Brand Architecture, Organizations may have a Parent Brand and a variety of Sub brands or Component brands when planning a BLM one has to carefully diagnose the organization brand architecture to ensure the Parent Brand serves its market properly and is not downgraded by conflicting brands that may be in play. Each brand will need resources and backing to properly align in their market channels. We have seen recently organizations that allow organic growth of sub brands that blur the parent brands prominence and throw a new vector into the positioning of the parent diluting its preeminence resulting in lost equity. Brand Architecture is a critical module integral to many organizations.
4. Brand Building, this is the wide-open big terrain of how you intend to roll out your identity and create a following. Today Social Media has garnered a massive following. Organizations and Individuals create and upload social graphs online in turn use interface utilities to get their brand or personal message across. This effective and relatively inexpensive tactic has taken off and will continue to be an emerging brand building tool. Print is still around as is the telephone. Sponsor opportunities and endorsement opportunities are certainly worth a look. As well as basic networking and interpersonal conversation.

So build yourself a great brand and have fun doing it! Should you want gordongroup’s BLM White Paper modules please drop me a line.

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