Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Uncover Your Brand SuperPower-Step 1

Did you happen to watch that new show "Undercover Boss" after the Super Bowl? It's about a senior level executive going undercover at many different positions throughout his organization. The goal is to make sure his initiatives he's set are achievable and to see how the organization "really" operates. He is put into positions at the entry level to see what it is really like to work for the company. Plus, he gets fired for the first time in his life, which was pretty funny. What is amazing about this is that it brings to life many insights and realizations about operations, processes and staffing that a senior level executive would NEVER get just running the organization from the top floor.

The same level of insights and realizations need to be uncovered when trying to establish your brand and what it stands for. Like the show, you need to uncover everything you can about your audience. Because at the end of the day, they are ones who really define what your brand stands for. You need to find out what their needs are, what their level of expectation is, what the customer experience is like, and how they want to be communicated with. This understanding, and what I refer to as "branding from the other side of the fence", will lead to a brand that is true, real and will allow you to connect with your customers in a way you never thought was possible. When your branding efforts become that natural, and not forced, that's when you know you have created something truly unique. Just look at companies like Apple, Starbucks and Ikea. They know what the customers wants before they do. That's having insight.

So how do you uncover your own Brand SuperPower? Here are a few things you can do to begin.

1. Interviews - You need to be constantly listening to your audience to uncover what they think of your company and your brand. You need to develop a series of questions for both internal and external constituent groups - employees, vendors, partners, board members and clients. Include questions that address your organization, products and services, competitors, industry, marketing, audience… What's important about this is that you allow the interviewee to be as truthful and open as possible. Only then can you uncover real insights that will make a tremendous difference to your brand.

2. Customer Surveys - For every sale or specific time period, survey your customers about their experience. Offer incentives to provide this valuable insight.

3. Advisory Boards - create a customer and/or employee advisory board that can provide you with new ideas, insights and reccommendations.

4. Social Media - this is a given in today's environment. You must be online following and listening to your audience. Start with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and begin to see how your presence can make a huge difference to your customers. Just remember to be transparent. No selling going on here. Okay, you can on LinkedIn, but it's more effective when you approach it from a advisory position.

From all this you can then begin to formulate a brand strategy - one that will identify key attributes and your overall brand SuperPower to go to market with. Start with this and see how it goes.

Send me a note to ask any questions or to just fill me in on what new insights you were able to uncover. Thanks for listening. Look for Step 2 in the near future. We'll get into how to translate all of these findings and identify your Brand SuperPower.

The Brand Man.
Creating SuperPowered Brands That Drive Business