Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Using the “B” word

I think there are probably as many approaches to “branding” as there are brands in the marketplace today. Whether it’s building a new brand, forwarding an existing brand, or strategizing a re-brand, clients seem to have differing ideas when we gather around the conference table for branding discussions.

With many CU’s merging or changing their membership from SEG-based to community based, “branding” seems to be the word du jour. There are two important factors in the success or failure of a branding initiative.

First and foremost, it’s important for an organization to review the way it operates to ensure that internal processes and procedures are appropriate given the new brand messaging – or determine that messages should be altered in some way.

For example, don’t say you will deliver the lowest rate in town if you aren’t prepared to follow-through on that brand promise. Or, don’t say you deliver the best service in town, when your members have to negotiate a murky maze of apathetic MSR’s when the member calls with a problem or question.

A second important factor is orchestrating an exciting brand rollout. Employees must be passionate about the new brand (or re-brand), so they can generate passion in the marketplace. Every department should be involved, since branding isn't merely a marketing function, but a company-wide endeavor.

This is a biggie!

Branding is more than putting a fancy label on a product. Branding is instead the “whole package” communicated through a name, graphics, and organizational support that influences a thought-process in the mind of an audience/consumer and creates value … or lack thereof … in the mind of the consumer.

Cool graphics are nice. But if your front line person isn’t engaged, then the cool graphics aren’t going to get you anywhere.