Today’s Book: Living the Brand: How to Transform Every Member of Your Organization into a Brand Champion by Nicholas Ind
I picked up this gem in a British Council Library Sale.
How do you build a brand? By spending millions on Ads, Social Media or celebrity endorsements? Well, there can be a more cost-effective and long-lasting strategy – help ALL your team members become your Brand Ambassadors!
This could not be a better time to so! An interesting quote by Daniel Bell (author of The End of Ideology) finds mention in the book:
“There is now, more than ever, some need for utopia, in the sense that men need—as they have always needed—some vision of their potential, some manner of fusing passion with intelligence. “
The author goes further to indicate (like Francis Fukuyama did in his essay “The End of History”) that the central rivalry between the political left and right was over. Hence, Bell continues, people need an outlet for their passions and intellect. Then, why not bring out their most passionate engagement at your workplace?
You might wonder, what is the relationship of “engagement” with Branding. Let us reflect -when and how does a Brand get built (or gets enhanced or diminished)? A core component of Brand Value Lifecycle is direct communication with client – the customer experience. This, in turn, is strongly dependent on internal communication. Fundamentally, Brand gets built on “HOW” the organization communicates. Cees Val Riel is quoted:
“How an organization communicates is more important than what is communicated. This stresses the “soft” aspects in communication like openness, honesty and participation in decision making, resulting in the necessity for managers to pay serious attention to communication climate, specifically their own role in improving the climate.”
How to arrive at coherent communication that helps build a great brand?
One way is to built an organizational ideology (values, purpose, etc). Now an ideology can get restrictive, says the author, giving the example of Xerox – it was exceptionally good at invention and poor at innovation. The way out, to quote from the book, is a balance:
The balancing act is to articulate an idelogy that has sufficient latitude to enable an organization to cope with change but has sufficient rigor to enable focus.
To achieve this you could create a organizational framework that allows creative freedom with the discipline to remain focused on business goals. This could be most easily seen at online gaming companies. However, almost any business can be “gamified” for unleashing individual creativity (at least for some allocated hours). A famous example: Google employees can dedicate 20% of time working as per own individual creativity. This led to development of huge projects like Google News, Gmail, and even AdSense (Source: Businessinsider). Economist Ernst Schumacher is quoted:
“We always need freedom and order”.
The book is packed with numerous stories from Brand Building strategies of many big brands.
“I need people to be full I”.
Happy building internal Brand Ambassadors!