Not everyone manufactures spaceships or has been providing banking services for 300 years, but to be competitive, the brand story needs to be:
- Unique – either in substance or, at the very least, the way it is told;
- Simple – immediately understood by any member of the target audience;
- Inspiring – emotionally engaging.
Plenty has been written on the virtues of sincerity. In short: the days when a brand could claim greatness and generosity while behaving in a petty and narrow-minded manner are gone. The Internet and social media have fundamentally changed the game. A brand with a strategic plan to succeed needs to develop a solid platform rooted in an honest message and always act in accordance with it.
Brands, products and services are no longer created strictly from the top down. Successful companies are usually focussed, but once the target audience is determined, inviting it to participate in the brand’s life is, in most cases, a good idea. Religious devotion to customer service and careful attention to customer complaints and unsolicited reviews – is a good start.
Once an exciting, honest and inclusive brand story is developed, it is time to turn to the future – what does the brand promise? Why should people continue drinking that particular mineral water (investing with a particular bank)? Not unlike the brand story, the vision needs to be:
- Bold – a big dream describing the philosophical end game;
- Simple – so much so that it is felt before it is understood;
- Inspiring – it is, effectively, a battle cry.
Think inside out
Companies occasionally make the mistake of investing predominantly into external communications – advertising campaigns, PR, awe-inspiring videos and not internal communications – at the end of the day, the staff get paid to like their employer – if workers want to succeed, it is in their own interest to find inspiration and rise through the ranks. That mentality may have worked a few decades ago, when people tended to stay with the same company for the entirety of their career, but in a time when many professionals change employers every few years – it is a recipe for high staff turnover and poor customer experience.
Why should companies invest in selling their stories to their employees before anyone else? Because each and every action of each and every employee either pushes the brand to greater heights or can become the nail that lost the kingdom.