Category :Internal Branding
For the last several months I have seen this building rise up in the south of Denver, in a prime location right next to the freeway and Light Rail line. In the last short while, that building has become a big, branded box – bright blue with touches of yellow. This last week, a huge branded sign finally appeared to announce just what this box/building was.
I have known for a while just what this building was to be. Now branded, everyone who hadn’t previously heard the rumor is finally in the loop. The conspicuous location, the giant sign, and the template-design of the building really signify that the owners of this bright-and-shiny, big, blue, branded box get branding.
Opening a store in a new market has become a science for this company. While specific regulations might vary, the company knows what it needs to do to get approvals for a sign and building of this magnitude. Both of which vastly dwarf other retailers nearby. Check out this clip covering the installation of the massive sign that has now appeared:
Despite complaints from some who are calling it an ‘eye-sore,’ this sign and the big, blue box beneath it definitely get attention. Talk about creating buzz to tease an opening – these guys know how to do it.
And it’s not just the sign. Even before inking the real estate deal, rumors of the company coming to town caused a stir. With its near-cult following, I wouldn’t think it’s a challenge for this company to generate excitement among consumers in any community they come to. In all mediums – underground, word-of-mouth, and traditional – the market-entry process earns the company media every step of the way. Its expansion strategy and branding formula is the mark of success.
I happen to like the idea of an international retailer coming to town. (Another is rumored to be coming to the Pavillions.) Introducing big brands like this helps put Denver on the map. It pulls in consumers from all over, it contributes to the economic growth of our city, and this time, it’s nicely branded in a beautiful, big, blue branded box called IKEA.
I admit it, it’s taken me a long time to REALLY understand how to brand and position a company and produce tangible marketing results. The best companies don’t just blast a message out without careful thought and consideration. First and foremost, they take a step back and look at things strategically.
One of my favorite sayings is the old, “ready, fire, aim” analogy, which I see all the time when it comes to branding and positioning. The best companies take the time to, “ready, aim and then fire” when approaching their branding, their position and their go-to-market strategy. They really understand the value they bring to the marketplace and how to effectively communicate it.
I can’t tell you how times I’ve heard, “we’re going to throw some stuff against the wall and see what sticks”. Bad idea. You will damage your brand by going straight to the market tactically without first figuring out strategically what you want your brand to be.
Why figuring things out strategically is so important:
- Throwing things at the wall and coming off half-cocked makes you look like you are still trying to figure out what you want to be when your company grows up.
- I would estimate 90 – 95% of companies say what they do but not why they do it or why their product is better then their competitors’ products.
- Do you really want to be just like everyone else? Or do you want to be original, unique and stand out from the crowd?
- Do you want to be a leader or a follower?
- Can you clearly and concisely communicate your value proposition in a compelling 30-second elevator pitch?
- Does your brand help position your company for where it wants to go in the future (i.e., acquiring funding, going public, selling the business, etc.)?
- Have you figured out how your brand is going to become a reality with a company-wide, holistic launch? What’s your plan to launch your brand internally and externally?
- Will your brand have legs and resonate for a period of time or is it just a one hit wonder?
If you are committed to getting your company to the next level, following these strategic guidelines will help you develop your company’s brand and position – and will greatly increase the chances of a successful implementation. Add that to a holistic, managed brand implementation while pro-actively getting your message out to your target audience – you have a winning recipe for success.
Written by Michael Doyle, President of Brand Iron
Internal branding is the way a brand comes to life, and it directly impacts the relationship your customers have with your brand. The power behind your brand is most evident when the mere mention of your brand can invoke positive feelings in the minds of your customers.
Your internal brand starts from within your organization. Your sales, marketing and operations all have to communicate the same message. For example, if your company’s unique selling position is “ease of use” – this message should be the focal point of brochures, inserts and all marketing materials. The phone script your sales team uses should include phrases like, “usability” and “user-friendly”. Furthermore, the proposals your sales team prepares should be clear and to the point. Within your operations, invoices should be easy to understand, and payments can be processed through a variety of ways. Likewise, the services you provide and the service your customers expect should be very straightforward.
To develop your internal brand – it must start at the top. The c-level executives set the philosophy, and it is then carried out by the rest of the team. Without c-level support and initiation – your brand will not carry out the promises of your company – and customers will be disappointed. Only when the entire team is clear about the brand – and how to live it, will you start impacting your customers by creating a positive brand experience.
Steps to developing your brand internally:
1. Develop your company’s brand promise.
2. Map out what it takes to fulfill that promise.
3. Understand why your promise is better than the competition.
4. Train all employees on your brand and what the brand stands for.
5. Commit to the brand on all levels.
6. Execute and stick to the plan.
Your internal brand will drive how your customers see your company and what kind of feeling they get from working with you. Positive internal brands lead to positive external brands – and both make it easier for you to reach your sales and communication goals.