Cruising through my LinkedIn feed last week, a post caught my eye asserting customers now have their own brands that need catering to. I shouldn’t be surprised. Everywhere I look ‘brand’ is tacked on to other words. I’ll just add customer brand to brand experience, brand values, brand purpose, brand promise, brand kitchen sink (okay haven’t seen that one yet, but you get the idea).
I see the brand as a result. And often the only way to understand it is to peel back the veneer and layers slapped on as part of so-called brand processes. To see what the brand result is, I take a look underneath at all the pieces and parts, in all their wriggly messy glory. Those pieces and parts live in all aspects of your organisation. Every action or decision is part of the brand result.
If you’re not sure something is part of the brand result, make your own list and then draw the connection. Here’s an example I was discussing with a friend on the weekend.
They’re putting together a contract for a deal. The way the contract is structured, worded and executed has a direct impact on how the organisation will do business. How they do business has a direct impact on their products and services — on their team, their partners, their customers and, yes, on their brand.
How many of you have ever thought about the brand when thinking about a contract? I’ll wager not many. Of course, that’s only one example; I could fill a book with others.
The brand is a result, and frontloading certain things with the term suggests there are parts of the organisation where it’s not something that needs consideration. That’s why I think the practice is confusing at best and downright dangerous at worst.
To see how ridiculous it is to slap the brand label on things try attaching it to all those messy wriggly bits I mentioned earlier. Brand customer service, brand product design, brand distribution, brand reception desk. And take it even further. Brand answering the phone, brand writing an email, brand terms and conditions, brand solving a problem, brand making a refund…
All of those things are part of the brand result. None of them need the word attached to be so.
So next time someone uses a ‘brand whatever’ term, ask them how it’s different from just ‘whatever’. I’d be interested in the response.
See you next week.