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Is your brand at the heart of your business?

How many of us think about our businesses brand in relation to every decision we make? The Chartered Institute of Marketing’s (CIM) Steve Woolley asked this at the beginning of his presentation at Marketing Week Live 2016, and the answer was a clear 50/50 split.

What this shows that brand is a concept to most businesses and bringing it to life is a much more complex journey.

In a major research project, the CIM asked marketers of all levels how they felt their organisation used brand and the answers were fundamentally worrying:

  • 70% of marketers believe that senior management think brand is a logo
  • In only three quarters of organisations is brand considered in big decisions
  • Just over half (52%) think their leaders understand their role in representing their brand
  • Nearly two thirds of marketers (63%) think employees don’t have a good grasp of brand
  • Only a quarter of employee inductions discuss brand

As a marketer, brand is key to our work, but are we communicating the value of bringing brand into every decision, and the impact a strong brand promise has on customer or clients? The research suggests there is more we can do:

  • 50% of marketers believe they are not influential in their organisation
  • Only 50% of marketers are routinely sharing customer insights with their colleagues
  • Only 13% share customer insights with the agencies they employ

So what are these marketers measuring about their customers? While 52% of marketers’ measure customer awareness, only 23% measure customer preference, meaning too few of us are optimising our messaging according to how the customer wants to be contacted. 71% measure customer satisfaction, but how can we know how to improve this if only 38% of us record customer perception?

As Steve said throughout his presentation, if ‘brand is the business strategy made real’ we as marketers are stakeholders, but it is a job we can’t do alone. From start-ups to corporates, the CIM has put together a best practice brand strategy for businesses to put in place. So how can you better deliver on your brand promise?

1) Have a clear mandate: Get as many parties involved as possible from the outset and have a clearly defined brand messaging.

2) Understand how to deliver: Secure collective buy in from leadership, if you don’t have their involvement from the outset, your efforts may be in vain.

3) Involve HR: There is little point in building brand into your business, if it is not at the heart of your training and staffing. It simply will not be sustained in the long run.

4) Understand your role: As marketers we’re used to demonstrating our value, but to make this process successful every party must be engaged.

5) Make reporting collaborative: Make a dash board of results and make sure the measurements are meaningful for the whole team.

As marketers, and especially in B2B marketing, we need to work with all stakeholders in the customer journey. Across the business we need to communicate better to ensure that our brand is being represented in a seamless manner.

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