Denise Yohn’s book, What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest has been a big inspiration for the Brandit team. We're a group of brand lovers and feel passionate about learning more about how great brands tick. This book was recommended via a marketing expert on Twitter so we set out to do some homework and to see what the hype was all about. In this book, Yohn gives great examples of the common practices top brands execute in order to deliver their brand value consistently which results in loyal customers, higher return on investment and exceeding expectations on profit margins.
Many of the areas Yohn outlined resonated with the Brandit team and we want to share our six key takeaways from the book:
1. A brand is more than just a fancy logo
A brand isn’t just the colours and the font used in marketing messages, it’s, “a bundle of values and attributes that define the value you deliver to people through the entire customer experience.” It is expressed through the way the company does business with all of its stakeholders at every level. From how employees answer the phone to how you decide between suppliers for your communal coffee. A brand is who you are as a company and how to operate.
2. Marketing with strategy go hand-in-hand
Great marketing can’t function on an individual basis, but still 64% of CMOs say their brands do not influence decisions made at their companies according to the Association of National Advertisers. That essentially means that companies are investing a fortune on marketing without aligning it with their business strategy. When the business strategy is the brand strategy, companies have clearer direction and vision. Their value is integral, it isn’t something that comes and goes with good and bad times. Their customers are loyal and the entire organisation know exactly what their brand stands for. A brand-as-business-strategy, “not only enables companies to attract people who share their mindset and values, they also produce clarity and conviction in the management of the business,” argues Yohn.
3. Great brands deliver through their people
A brand can’t just be a promise. It has to be a promise delivered by the people of an organisation. Your employees are your brand advocates and should feel passionate to be brand ambassadors for your organisation. A strong company culture delivers that promise through its people. Yohn explains that “Managers come and go. The business portfolio changes, so the only thing that endures is our culture.” When your culture creates an environment where your people feel proud of the product and service they stand behind and understand the rationale behind the brand values, they will feel more empowered to deliver the brand promise. A strong company culture means that the people of the organisation know their own direct impact on the brand perception, the rationale for the doing things the way they are done, and why it is important. As a result they know exactly what is expected of them to deliver the companies value throughout their work.
4. Great brands build community
Great brands succeed, even when times are tough, because they are constantly engaged in relationship building. Amazon, for example, introduced a review policy that allowed users to give honest feedback on products, good or bad. Critics said that the bad reviews were likely to hurt product sales, but thinking in the long-term, this honest tactic will win the trust of the customer making them more likely to make purchases from a brand they can rely on.
5. Great brands don’t follow trends and they don’t chase customers
A great brand doesn’t need to follow trends because it positions itself based on its own built-in value instead of trying to mimic something already being done by a competitor. They recognise how their brand value has an impact on society as a whole, which comes back to how it aligns with their internal culture. This understanding helps them connect emotionally and inspire a loyal customer base.
That said, trends are important and shouldn’t be ignored because they do give hints to bigger cultural changes. Great brands anticipate those movements and meet them, keeping their brand's core values in mind, of course.
6. It's all about the little touches
Making those emotional connections with customers means communicating to all the senses at every customer touch point. Touch points are everywhere, it’s the whole experience with the brand, from the advert music, to the temperature of retail locations, even the décor in the toilet facilities! It’s about demonstrating brand values are every level.
Urban Outfitters, great example of a brand creating an 'experience' in store"
But to deliver brand value even at the lowest level of detail, employees really have to experience the brand as customers do, and they have to be empowered to make those customer experiences live up to the brand promise, always. That comes back to committing to a strong company culture with the brand values at its core.
There’s a reason why we at Brandit spend a lot of time talking about brand consistency and culture. It’s because we believe that is what builds strong brands. It’s about clearly communicating the brand value consistently across the entire organisation, understanding what is happening in a broader cultural context, so brands can truly connect with customers.
If you'd like to ensure brand consistency in-house, then why not consider our web to print platform Brandit? With Brandit, you can take your marketing and branding designs in house. Your templates will be designed specifically for your business, and all your staff need to do is drag and drop images and edit the text. It's as simple as that!
Give us a call on 0161 228 6489 to find out more. You can also book a free screen-share demo below to see our software in action.