By Dr. Susan Ziebarth
Sometimes lessons come from the weirdest places. Nick Nanton and JW Dicks highlighted lessons learned from looking at the Twinkie as an Eternal brand. What struck me about this fun and helpful post is that they highlight the significance of emotions to the life of a brand, the internal alignment employees need to have with the brand, and the value of storytelling to build recurring business.
Branding is often thought of as “all of the promises and perceptions that an organization wants its customers to feel about its product and service offerings” (Davis, S.M.). So how can we determine what feelings we want our customers to feel and how do we act so as to inspire those feelings? Perhaps the answer is to first do some soul searching. In Brains on Fire, the authors take a stand that they prefer the word identity over the word brand because they feel that by “finding your purpose in the world as a company, you unearth your soul” (p. 110). What is your story?
At times we get so involved with developing a marketing plan that it becomes an exercise in itself and segregated from the identity of the culture and purpose of the business – the identity and your story. “Brands provide a sense of meaningful identity that is distinct from the particular product or service being offered” (Blumenthal). It may appear to be easier for packaged goods in retail and business to business marketing to sell because they have tangible objects. However, brands that excel know what service providers who offer intangible offerings that often offer a promise for the future know – you need to know the values and the why behind your brand.
What is uniquely you? What do you stand for? What do you do? Why do you do it? The energy you invest in answering these questions will allow you to convey a more personal, authentic, and soulful brand. A brand where people are likely to feel the emotions you desire they feel. Before you start looking at marketing opportunities, budget, and evaluation options etc. get clear on your identity. Who are you and what do you do? Remember your answer does not have to be cast in stone. Just as people grow and change so can your brand, just make the changes consciously to stay true to your identity.
Reference: Blumenthal, D. (2003). Internal Branding: does it improve employee’s quality of life? Institute for Brand Leadership. Retrieved March 2004, from http://instituteforbrandleadership.org/internalbranding.pdf