Don’t Just Be a Brand – Live Your Brand
“Your Entire Company Should be Considered Your Branding Department.”
For both companies who are looking to create a build their brands to those who have set the benchmark for brand strength and longevity, this quote should stand as a mantra for creating a business culture where the core brand principles run throughout those in the organization.
It is one thing to “be” a brand, with a solid brand foundation built on the principles to which your brand stands, but to “live” the brand is to carry these same principles into your work and your interactions with those around you.
And this is how you truly spread the brand strategy to its fullest extent.
Every good brand portfolio and brand strategy should include actionable and personified elements, such as a brand personality and values. These are just two of many that make up a brand, but these elements are the ones best designed to be shown through the actions of your employees.
Those in your organization are the living, breathing, interacting faces and voices of your brand, who could potentially do more good (and also more bad) for it than any other aspect. You can have the world’s greatest logo, one that pops off advertisements and stands out among competitors, but if your own employees don’t believe in the brand characteristics for which that logo represents, then your brand strategy has a major flaw, and will continue to be playing from behind.
Another way to look at the concept of having your entire company be your “branding department” is that the widespread consumer mindset trusts individuals and in-person examples more than they trust advertisements and marketing materials. If they interact with an employee who truly understands how to live the brand and serves as a positive brand ambassador, then that impact will far outweigh what they see from a marketing standpoint.
As I mentioned before, this can also work the other way, which is often where the most problems arise. Especially for brands with established brand personalities, when an employee doesn’t embody those same characteristics, the uncertainty that arises about a brand can do great damage to its perception. This doesn’t just go for one-on-one interactions with consumers, but it also encompasses the actions of those same employees when working on behalf of the brand. Ethical breaches, crisis response, blatant mistakes that cause harm – they are all examples of not living up to the brand standard.
From the very top of your organization all the way down, your brand should be present in all of your employees and in how they act, speak and carry themselves – a strong brand is only as good as those who live it.