Who owns your brand? We often think we own our own brand. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If you are an executive, you certainly own part of your brand. But you don’t necessarily own all of it. Others do.
So who owns your brand? Here are three key groups:
- Executives—As a management group (board, senior team, mid-level managers), you must lead your brand. You set the tone, the direction and the vision for what you want your brand to be about. Successful brands always start with an internal focus. If you aren’t concerned about your brand and the impact it has on your bottom line then you are not truly leading your credit union or bank for growth. You own the strategic part of your brand. But that’s just it: it’s only one part.
- Employees—As front-line staff, your employees must live your brand. Their one-on-one interactions play a critical (in many cases even more important) role in how your brand is perceived. One poor employee experience will destroy years of great branding you’ve done at the marketing level. Your employees own the daily interaction part of your brand. But that’s just it: it’s only one part.
- Consumers—If you are leading the brand and your employees are living your brand, then your customers or members should love your brand. With a great brand, your target audience are your advocates. You don’t want satisfied consumers; you want loyal consumers. The best brands today are “tattoo” worthy (think Apple and Harley Davidson). Ultimately, how your consumers feel about your financial institution determines your brand’s success. More than likely they have indifferent feelings about you. Your customers or members own the perception part of your brand. But that’s just it: it’s only one part.
You build a strong brand around those three groups. Because all three own a portion of your brand. The most successful brands today align their brand strategy and experience around their leadership, their employees and their consumers.
One exercise you can complete to determine how aligned you are is to ask each group, “What is our organization about?” Then compare the answers. Your executives may say one thing, your staff may say another and your customers may say something entirely different. If that’s the case, then you have a weak brand.
The better you align your brand around your three ownership groups—your executives, your employees and your consumers—the stronger brand you will have.