Let's talk about branding

Oh I just love this photo by Max Ogden

Oh I just love this photo by Max Ogden

Pretty much every Designer, Accounts and Project Manager I've interviewed (and some that I've employed) has said to me at one stage or another, that they "want to work in branding", "do brand work" or "be involved in building brands".

Also, most clients I've worked with, in one way or another believe that 'the brand' is very much about their organisation's corporate identity (read: logo) and the consistency in which it is applied across the junk mail their marketing departments try to produce.

They all have the good intention of wanting to build meaningful, effective brands but they have it all wrong.

This is how you build a brand.

I recently travelled to Sydney for a few days — I do this trip often — and decided to stay at a new hotel which came highly recommended by a friend of mine.

The Old Clare.

As you may know, I'm quite active on Twitter and also addicted to the cult of Crossfit — it's a big part of my life. It keeps me fit, healthy, happy and mindful.

So — I decide to tap into my Twitter network to ask the following:

I received a number of replies, but as my busy day would have it, I didn't get the time to act on them.

A few days later, I arrive in Sydney, Uber it to The Old Clare and check-in to my room.

When I walk in, I see the following:

  • A framed picture of my tweet
  • A hand-written note
  • A print out of 'Sydney's best Crossfit gyms'
  • A map with directions to the nearest two

 

I was gob-smacked.

It made my day. It made my week.

I felt valued and I felt listened to.

I have told almost every person I've interacted with since about this experience. I've written about it elsewhere and I'm now telling you — so if you think about it I've told upwards of 4,000 people.

In all the work I've done with corporates who see 'brand' as the 'coat of paint' of an organisation. They couldn't have been more wrong.

This is how you build a brand.

In a 2017 world, brands are built by listening to what our customers, employees, suppliers, stakeholders (read: people) need.

And once we know what they need — providing value to them in ways that is meaningful to them. Not a mis-aligned value that makes people sitting around a boardroom table feel good about themselves. Or a value that has a bunch of 'strategic' creative types nodding in agreement before they head out for Friday night drinks.

Real value delivered with kindness, humility and a fucking smile.

Value that is true to who we are as organisations, as leaders and businesses.

This is branding.

This is brand building.

This is brand development.

This is the visible part of a very customer-centric brand strategy without the bullshit.

Consistently listening to our customers. Consistently learning what they need, who they are, what they aspire to and why they choose us.

Branding is behaviour, actions and strategies centred around the needs of the customer.

Simple.

👇🏽

How to get experience

The funnel and the machine