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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

10 Ways To Build Your Image Without Saying "Brand"

1. Recognize that having a strong image is a business requirement, not
a nice-to-have or “marketing fluff.” Having a strong image helps you
get the job done.

2. Focus on the concept of making and fulfilling a promise. The
promise centers on three things: What you’re trying to do (mission),
your philosophy (your beliefs about the way the strategic environment
works), and your values (which flow from your philosophy).

3. Stop thinking about what you want to say and start listening to
what others are saying about you. Think about it. Is Coca-Cola’s image
based on their press releases or on your impressions of their product,
its advertising, and its competitors? Listen to your customers and
then take corrective action when you’ve broken your promises (or even
when they think you have).

4. Stop talking about “branding.” For some reason, as soon as people
start hearing this word they get all worked up and agitated, either
frantically defending their symbols (or attacking someone else’s) or
ranting against being treated like a product. Forget it - the whole
dialogue gets you nowhere. Talk about “image” or “identity” because
that’s what you really mean anyway. (You can even talk about
“reputation” if you have to, although I’m personally not a fan of
doing that because there are important conceptual differences between
image and reputation. But for most executives they’re close enough.)

5. Keep the conversation about image very non-technical, with few
exceptions. One of the few jargon words I can tolerate is “brand
promise,” because it’s intuitive shorthand for what the organization
stands for. I just like the way it sounds. The second is
“positioning,” because it’s a simple way of talking about how your
promise is different from others’ and exactly which stakeholders you

6. Get your house in order first. Most people don’t realize this, but
effective marketing and PR is 99% workforce effectiveness and only 1%
bells and whistles. Remember that show “Jon & Kate Plus 8”? That
didn’t end well and neither will an effort to trot out the employees
(“kids”) like show puppies. Deal with the organizational issues
confronting your workforce and then they will all be on the same page.
When that happens they will brag about the organization and the public
will get a good impression naturally.

7. Highlight your strengths—but don’t try to be something you’re not.
We’re all self-critical but there are things your organization does
well. Focus on those, narrow down your offering (don’t try to be all
things to all people), and execute on that.

8. Make sure that people know what they’re supposed to do. Just
because you had a conversation on the top floor doesn’t mean the word
got out to everyone. And just because you used a phrase like “delight
the customer” doesn’t mean that people know what specific behaviors
you want them to exhibit. Tell them clearly, over and over again, even
if you think you’re repeating yourself. Write policies and procedures
and hold everyone accountable for following them. Post metrics
transparently that show progress (or the lack thereof).

9. Provide a reality check to employees showing them how people feel
when they’re interacting with the organization. Mystery shoppers are a
huge wake-up call.

10. Take senior executives out of the normal business environment to
engage them in building a realistic image and a roadmap for getting
there. Guided reading, discussions, and problem-solving sessions will
help them understand the need for change and call on their experience
and skill in creating it.

Posted via email from Think Brand First