Winning companies start with a big idea…one that is rooted in enduring customer needs…and fulfill those needs in new and surprising ways. Understanding today’s customer, market, competitive realities, and trends is an essential first step, as is an understanding your company’s strengths, capabilities, and core equities. This work is a beginning that serves as a springboard to the development of inspiring, breakthrough ideas that sell.
What happens next is the magic. Magic happens through a combination of art and science. It happens when you bring the very best of left brain and right brain thinking together, focusing on compelling, highly valued benefits sought by customers.
This forms the basis for your brand promise of value…what you can uniquely do that fulfills a customer’s desires in ways no other solutions can. A great promise of value endures. It cannot be copied. It is preemptive. It is sustainable. And it is broad enough in scope to inspire aligned new products and services to extend market share or create new categories.
Kodak is all about memories. Nordstrom is about exemplary customer service. Disney is the happiest place on earth. IBM is the magic you can trust. Apple unleashes the individuality in all of us. Starbucks is about relaxation and affordable personal indulgence. What’s noteworthy here is that Kodak is not about digital or paper images, Nordstrom isn’t another department store, Disney isn’t cartoons or theme parks, IBM isn’t a huge technology company, Apple isn’t cool gadgets, and Starbucks isn’t coffee. The promise resides in the head and the heart, and the means to delivering that promise resides not only in WHAT products and services offer, but HOW those products and services are delivered.
Great brands, rooted in an enduring and compelling promise of value, inform everything a company does. These are brands with a capital “B”.
The Brand informs what you do, and don’t do. Your product direction. Your acquisition strategy. Your sales approach. Your partnering and alliance models. Your pricing strategies. Whom you hire and what qualities you reward. How your employees and partners think, act, and behave. Your channel strategies. Your customer engagement models, strategies, and programs. Your success metrics. Your culture. Brand ownership…what your promise of value personally means…resides with the customer, but the brand champion is the CEO. The best CMOs know this, and serve as the catalysts and instigators in creating great enduring brands.