Sometimes being blindsided makes you see the light.
A little while back I was surprised by the question “What do you think makes a brand?” in an unusual situation. This was a good thing, since it prevented me from going to autopilot with “products are made in factories, brands are made in the minds of the people” or “brand is the soul of a product or service”. Etc.
So I heard myself saying, quite out of the blue, that a great brand is the image of stellar product or service; residue of a job well done. It’s the tour de force of accountability, something that recognizes broad shoulders and the will power necessary to make it all work.
That’s what I said and nobody threw rocks at me. I don’t know if anyone really got to thinking about it — except that I started thinking about it.
I started thinking that “Brand Street” is never a one-way street. The employees of a company have to recognize that “this brand is something special, we must take good care of it” as much as customers need to fall in love with the brand.
It’s a funny thing, how a brand gets stronger, as its distance to marketing & communications departments grows. When you’re not preaching to the choir anymore, that’s where you make the biggest brand impact.
It’s when you see two people casually meet and say something nice about your brand. And then a third person joins the conversation, and a fourth one. Pretty soon you have a brand flashmob going on.
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, has said that your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room. He might well be onto something.