Far too many business brands fail to deliver on their promise and lose their potential brand value over time. Why is that?
When entrepreneurs set up businesses they have a clear vision and a passion. As their business grows their focus tends to be deflected by the need to manage all other aspects of the business. Once they are big enough to have staff covering specialist areas such as sales, finance and production, the entrepreneur increasingly has to be a person-manager and a team leader.
So the focus remains deflected from the original vision and passion.
Existing and new customers can see this. The brand values the founder was passionate about are qualified by the ability of the business’s weakest department to deliver them.
All too often we see selling propositions and brands built around ‘quality and service’ when internally the priorities are about hitting targets based on numbers, or transactions completed irrespective of quality or customer satisfaction.
Companies that are growing by working even harder and longer hours are least able to stay true to their brand values. The brand can become tainted by stress, internal conflict and inconsistency, becoming less responsive and less flexible.
The ‘business brand’ is the image of any business.
It is everything everyone sees, hears, reads about, believes, perceives or suspects. It is the collective and individual views of employees, suppliers, colleagues and customers, existing and potential.
It is the out-of-date website, abrupt and misspelt emails, it is calls not returned, apologies, missed deliveries, blame, and your ‘valuable’ call held in a queue.
It is also good design, innovation, creativity, enthusiasm, skill, experience, motivation, commitment, compassion, integrity, honesty, belief, fun and humour.
If you are honest and don’t like the answer, now is the time to do something about it. Simple and straightforward things that address the root causes of tainted brands.
A typical ‘fix’ is a balanced strategy for the business with better communication and the closer involvement of all. Fine, but that is typically drawn up by the Board or with outside ‘consultants’ and imposed from the top down.
So it is often resented, treated with suspicion, and thus resisted, rejected or ignored by those who are expected to implement it.
The ideal solutions lie at both ends of the business: a review of the business owner’s genuine belief in those founding brand values (perhaps they have changed) and a business improvement process designed by the people business plans are normally dumped upon. They understand so well how much the brand is failing to deliver. All day every day.
Giving the freedom and responsibility to help build and share a newly formed or reinvigorated set of brand values delivers long term benefits, because the improvements which follow are driven from all parts of the business. There is no need to get staff and employees to buy in; they already own it.
There is no better way to re-build the value of any brand.
And the value of the brand is the future wealth of the entrepreneur and all who succeed them.