by Kenneth Rudich
What does it mean to make a business brand glow?
Let’s begin the answer to this question by putting the concept of “Glow” into proper context.
States of Being for a Brand
Every brand image exists in some state of being. The phrase “state of being” refers to its present condition.
When evaluating a brand, there are at least five different states of being to consider. They are:
1. Bad – A currently tarnished image has a fundamentally flawed foundation for trying to make it glow. If left unattended, it’s a ticking time bomb just waiting to blow. This circumstance requires the immediate intervention of a crisis management strategy. Until repaired, there’s no reason to pursue any other course of action because the business will almost assuredly fail.
2. Non-identifiable – A non-descript brand can be common for a business in the start-up stage. If this is the case, all signs should indicate it simply needs more time to gain some traction. The important thing here is that a strategy has been mapped out for making the brand memorable, including milestones and metrics for evaluating where it stands at any given moment and whether the plan is on track for achieving its goals.
3. Under-developed – This suggests one or more areas of impairment may be preventing the brand from realizing the greater good it can do. Under this circumstance, it’s advisable to conduct a value chain audit for identifying potential and/or real problems. It’s vitally important to listen to all of the constituents across the value chain (especially customers and prospects), and to carefully monitor all communications channels. Well-placed performance metrics will furnish productive insights as well.
4. Good – Reaching this state often revolves around having successfully nurtured the following characteristics:
delivering real perceived value;
- a consistently solid customer experience;
- cohesive employee relations;
- supportive supplier connections;
- a smartly assembled operating environment (virtual and/or real);
- visible ties to the community(ies) in which it operates;
- strong relationships with any other key stakeholders it may have.
The basic elements of integrity and trust must be seen as woven into every interaction and transaction. This state is probably sufficient for a brand to survive, possibly even thrive, particularly if it has little to no competition or is well-established and firmly entrenched.
5. Glow – This state of being expands on the accomplishment of having cultivated a good brand image. It aims to give the brand some personality by positioning it as being more than merely functional, but also human and humane; as engaged as it is engaging. The ultimate is to endow the brand with endearing qualities that condition people to like it on an emotional level – if possible, to the point of becoming a member of the community it represents, or perhaps even become a brand ambassador.
Plying the Brand Identity
We realize we’re not lifting the shroud from a well-guarded secret. The origins of the aspiration for “glow” go back in time. Many businesses, especially large companies, have worked tirelessly over years and even decades to be perceived as socially responsible, or as having a social conscience. Until fairly recently, however, it took somewhat deep pockets to accomplish this, and it seldom yielded the kind of results that are possible now with a much smaller investment.
Also until recently, the pressure to make a brand glow was not nearly as forceful and omnipresent as it is today (see part 1 of this series).
And finally, the available options for making it glow were not nearly as rich and robust as they are today.
In part 3 of this series, we’ll get down to the nitty-gritty of what you can do to help make your brand glow.
The Benefits of Brand Identity
But before we move on, let’s briefly look at some of the benefits a good-to-glowing brand identity can provide. They are:
- an appearance of being socially responsible
- the ability to garner greater social acceptance
- a means to stimulate customer engagement
- the capacity to win and keep loyal customers
- increased business visibility
- a tool for attracting more and/or stronger strategic partnerships
- a means to acquire competitive advantage
Come back for part 3, won’t you?