Economic disruptions produced by the ongoing technological revolution, rising uncertainty in global markets, and crises of complexity generated by social media all make this an exceptionally challenging time for organizations seeking to create or refine their brand identities.
Explored in what follows are critical issues to address in assembling a comprehensive branding program, based on challenges and opportunities that we at Siegelvision consistently encounter with clients.
The Inside-Out Approach
Henry Ford is often quoted as having said, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." Whether the words were his or not, they reflect what we call the "outside-in" approach -- trusting customers to provide critical insights to help define a brand identity. But relying on customer feedback alone is akin to treating symptoms rather than the underlying illness.
While customers may be able to pinpoint certain problems they would like to see addressed, they rarely have enough information to understand the organization in sufficient detail.
An "inside-out" approach, on the other hand, helps achieve a distinctive and credible branding program by tapping insights that emerge from within the organization itself -- a process largely contingent upon leadership support.
Validation research is then conducted, bringing employees and outside audiences together to react to concrete ideas, and helping ensure that the resulting strategy will be clear, compelling, and relevant.
Driving Brand Identity Through a Clearly Defined Purpose
Most organizations spend months devising predictable, and often garbled, mission or vision statements that employees ignore and that fail to guide decision-making in both day-to-day management and big-picture strategic planning.
An effective purpose statement defines your reason for being in business, the calling your organization aims to answer in the marketplace, and the problems you strive to solve.