The key to developing a successful brand is to live it in your corporate culture and values. Each global business has a vision that inspires the leaders. Once a corporate brand has been created, it is extremely important that the executives live the brand. Leaders have the unfortunate ability of ruining the image of their company’s brand like A&F CEO Mike Jeffries who instantly became the retail bully after he revealed that his company made clothes for only “attractive cool kids” which resulted in boycotts and a wrecked brand.
Defining a Brand
Corporations need to take a step back and decide what their brand is and develop a plan to promote. Consider, who are they and who do they want to be. Once this goal is set, the corporation and individuals in it need to live and breath the brand.
Each business is designed to meet a need in the marketplace. Successful corporations see the need and create a product to match. In cases like Steve Jobs and Apple, this approach can successfully create an iconic brand that resonates in the collective consciousness. Companies must look at the marketplace and define the niche their business will target. Products must be designed that meet this niche based on features, benefits or value.
Marketing a Brand
In the past, companies used TV or newspaper advertisements to create their brand image. With the Internet and social media, this is no longer enough. A brand image is instantly visible across social media and other online channels. For corporations, this can be a worrying trend. It takes brand management out of the hands of the business and into the collective consciousness. Any scandal, product issue or brand problem is immediately available online and becomes visible to consumers around the world.
Brand marketing is no longer a cut and dry solution. Corporations must develop social media sites, value-added content, news articles and promotions that reach out to customers. These methods can be used to manage the dialogue in the public sphere and overcome controversies.
Living Your Brand
In essence, the leaders of the brand must live it. Employees should be hired who represent the company culture. It is no longer enough to advertise a brand. Brands today must actually represent the business. The only way to do this is for employees to live and believe in their brand.