The Brand-Driven Business
Throughout my almost 20 year career, I’ve come to learn within major organizations you have business folks and brand folks. The business folks are focused on operations, driving revenue, reducing costs and focus on the Profit and Loss of a department or business unit. Then you have the brand folks, they’re focused on telling a story, pricing, competitive differentiation, marketing and tend to focus on the product or service. And one thing that I’ve noticed is that these folks usually don’t play well together or even talk to each other within an organization. This has created a weird world where operations and the business is acting in a completely different way than the communication and story of the brand. If we can feel this disconnect in our organization, imagine what it must feel like to the consumer.
This disconnect is only expanded as traditional organizations, trying to become more efficient, reduce operational costs and marketing costs together. This stalls brand growth and, in the end, business growth. We are in a business landscape where brand plateaus are the new success, however many, if not most, are in decline. This opens the door to disruption and new thinking.
OUR CHALLENGE IS TO FIND A WAY TO MOVE THE NEEDLE TOWARD THE POSITIVE ON BRAND GROWTH.
The Brand-Driven Business
Over the last 5 years, we have started to see a new model emerging; one where brand growth success looks like a hockey stick. This is the era of the Brand-Driven Business. An era where the consumer is at the central focus of the business and every aspect of the brand / business is solving their core problems. It’s a time where the brand not only stands for something, but also fulfills that promise. It’s a time where the operational aspects of a business are done in a brand-focused way. It’s a time where business means something again. It’s a transformation that’s currently happening from the outside-in. Your challenge is to make it happen from the inside-out.
Here are a few thoughts to get started:
Mindset: The mindset of a Brand-Driven business is all about adding value to the customer in a thoughtful and curated way. This means that all business decisions are run through the filter of brand and customer before implementation.
Story: Consumer purchase-decisions have begun to move beyond the features and functions of a product and service and into an emotional connection. This emotional connection across various touchpoints is tied together through the brand story. However, the Brand-Driven Business not only tells this story externally to their consumers, but they LIVE this story internally across their organization and operations.
Experience Design: The most overlooked part of today’s traditional organizations is the holistic, integrated consumer experiences. These connected experiences are quickly becoming a key driver for purchase decisions among some customer segments, moving past price and emotion as drivers. Brand-Driven Businesses know that experience is everything, from product efficacy, customer service, retail and communications.
Organizational Structure: Many traditional organizations are structured to support specific revenue departments to help best drive their Profit and Loss statements. This causes silos to form, which causes broken consumer relationships. Brand-Driven Businesses are built around the consumer experience first, and business results second; being fully aware that the most profitable relationship with a customer is a consistent and valuable one.
Operations: As mentioned above, all operations in the Brand-Driven Business fulfill and execute the brand promise. Whether it’s customer service, supply chain relationships, e-commerce transactions or retail, each operation is a core component of the brand story and each interaction with a stakeholder or customer fulfills the brand’s promise and story.
Communications: Communications in traditional organizations are used to spur sales due to a short term goal or need. However, in Brand-Driven Businesses, communication is a naturally occurring, always-on activity that is driven by the consumer relationship, and not about fulfilling short-term sales needs. Brand-Driven Businesses understand the lifetime value of a consumer and know that retention and engagement is just as important, if not more, than adoption or acquisition. This mindset is built for the long game with short term wins.
The Brand-Driven Business is one that understands the true value of a consumer and is passionately focused on creating as much value for that consumer as possible. This mindset allows a business to look at brand growth in a whole new way; consistently, always-on and incrementally.