Who owns it?

February 6, 2010

Recently I was asked to speak at a DOT (Department of Transportation) national convention where I was to engage people during a 30 minute break-out session on the subject of Branding. I said, yes of course, it’s my favorite subject. What did I learn? People who are not exposed to the science of branding are like sponges if you “show” them how it works, and not just tell what they should be doing. These were all people within a certain industry that typically don’t use agencies and understand branding only as logos and signage.

My approach was to show them that THEY are consumers of their own products and services and to personify their brand as a real person. Because of this, they have to have the perspective of the consumers’ lens when they want to understand what others think of their brand. To this degree, they don’t own their brand. Understanding the insights from what people think can influence messaging that can lead to action.

We went to BrandTags.net and looked at brands and what consumers think of them. That was an eye opener – they started to see that branding isn’t  a logo, a sign on a building or a secret formula, instead it is a thought, a feeling or a understanding of a company through an emotional experience.

During the session I had them fill out part of a worksheet and then pass it to another person. This revealed how each of them were different yet all part of the insight to their brand. To again prove that they have to embrace the consumer’s perspective.

Finally, I wanted to reinforce that internal alignment is important to the success of the brand performance and longevity. Understanding good culture can build authenticity and believability into a brand’s unique qualities.

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