By Lynn Manternach/Consulting
Does your company have a brand champion?
Typically a brand champion is someone in a leadership position who embodies the brand promise and champions the brand internally and externally. The role could be formal or informal and what the brand champion does is much more important than the title.
A brand champion understands that good marketing can have a huge impact on a company’s bottom line, but that impact pales in comparison to the way effective branding can transform a company. That’s because consumers want to interact with companies on their terms. They don’t want to be “marketed” to. They want to engage with the brands they care about.
The most successful companies — regardless of size — focus on both branding and marketing. The combination is powerful. Marketing is focused and single-minded. Branding is big-picture. A marketing campaign’s effectiveness is measured in months, but a brand’s strength is calculated in years, or even decades. Marketing begins with the customer. Branding begins at home.
One of the most essential skills of a brand champion is the ability to communicate effectively across the organization to unite the entire team behind the brand.
The brand champion makes sure everyone understands what the brand promise is, why it matters and the importance of delivering on the brand promise every day.
Brand champions know you can’t transform a company without changing the way people within the company think about the brand. If senior management doesn’t understand the potential of a strong brand and how the brand impacts every aspect of the company, efforts will not be successful. Leadership has to walk the walk. If they don’t, employees won’t either.
Brand champions are educators and coaches who reach out to educate key managers and influencers about the power of brand. They help colleagues, especially those in human resources, recruiting, training, customer service and operations, understand how their efforts impact the brand. They help them see how a consistent brand experience makes their job easier and how the brand integrates their efforts with the efforts of others across the company.
Brand champions make sure the brand infrastructure is in place. Organizations measure what matters and living the brand matters. The brand and the brand promise should be linked to job descriptions, training programs, employee evaluations, meetings and events.
Brand champions market to employees like customers. They take the time to build a comprehensive internal brand plan. They use traditional tools, like posters and employee publications, but they don’t stop there. They make it viral, interactive and hands-on. They make it relevant and engaging.
If employees don’t understand and believe in your organization’s brand, they can’t deliver on the brand promise. And your external marketing efforts will be a waste of money if your employees aren’t positioned to keep the promises you’re making in the marketplace. A successful marketing campaign may drive new customers through your doors, but if the brand experience doesn’t meet their expectations, they won’t be back.
Your brand has the potential to be your company’s most valuable asset. Focusing on building the brand provides a wide range of benefits — benefits that ultimately contribute to the bottom line.
A brand champion can help you get there.