Actions speak louder than words.
There’s no agreement on what the word brand means, though it’s mostly defined by logos, slogans, and creative ways to reference a company. This makes branding incredibly hard to measure. Most brands are valued by how readily and often people can remember branding, which is an old circular argument first made in the 1950s.
We think this amounts to the business world’s version of a car wreck on the side of the road. Here’s a newer, 21st definition:
Successful brands do things that customers need, believe, and then use to make business decisions and achieve their own success. Branding is the narrative of those actions. The measures of brand value aren’t opinion but the volume and frequency of reliably profitable sales over time.
We use this model as the basis for our BrandPlan, which is a focused, fast and results-oriented methodology that we’ve refined and proven over a decade of experience. It purposefully ignores the standard trappings of branding — visual image, associative qualities or emotions — and answers seven basic questions that involve the consensus of the entire leadership team and yield actionable outcomes:
- What do we think we do best?
- How do we prove it?
- Is it what matters most to our customers?
- Does it differentiate us from our competitors?
- What could we do more, less, or differently to build on our strengths(s)?
- How do our customers learn and value these actions?
- Where, when, and how should we communicate them (your BrandPlan)?
The BrandPlan process is also purposefully fast, because we believe that the only way to truly test ideas is in the give-and-take of the real world. Branding is ongoing and our methodology encourages adaptation. The process normally takes six to eight weeks to complete. We can do it faster or slower, depending on client need.
Our bias it to keep it simple. We practice what we preach.