Leadership and the brand impact, special guest Susan Meier
Branding requires leadership. One can start or have a company with great products or services and doing well in the market. But a brand can be nebulous or inconsistent and it really requires a top-down perspective to define what is it that ties all the products, the people behind it together and what the brand stands for. So that the people on the other end, who are receiving the messaging and using the products or services have a clear understanding of what and who the brand is.
A brand is a reflection of its people and the people reflect the leadership they have.
For larger companies, the challenge is that there are multiple stakeholders and brands. Which results in having a lot of things to align. When dealing with multiple people managing multiple brands, for a company, alignment is really challenging. Simply because people have different perspective.
It's a two-fold exercise. You have leadership, you have employees which form the corporate brand, then you have product and service brands. The products and service brands have to be congruent with the corporate brand. It's the congruence that brings about the extent of success.
The leadership is what sets the tone for what the brand is. Be it a large company or a small one. The brand then sets the tone for what the product and services will be and how the company will act towards their community. It makes leadership very critical.
For small and medium sized business who have been operating for the past 20 years or so, often have their founding members involved. This has an implication on the leadership, as how these founding members have run the business and projected the brand has shaped their success how the brand and its products and services are perceived. In such situations there's a lot of emotional attachment involved being the founders.
Similarly, with larger companies there is an emotional attachment with the way the brand is portrayed and communicated. Leadership plays a key role here in leading the necessary brand output objectively and for the benefit of the brand.
It's always good to work backwards by starting at the touch-points the brand interacts with its constituents and understand what is it that the people need. Connecting that to messaging and the brand story helps to see what is necessary. Keeping the communication tight and clear is where leadership plays a critical role to ensure the team have the clarity of marketing objective and the brand's purpose and being able to connect and deliver on it.
Three key things to keep doing daily to make a brand compelling and engaging requires leadership, focus and clarity of message.