The Actionable Brand: Introduction

The Actionable Brand: Introduction

We all want our brands to be the most memorable, the most compelling they can. We want our brands to motivate consumers to buy our products or services. We want our brands to inspire employees to do their best, be their best. We want our brands to help us attract top talent and retain our best performers. We want our brands to become well-known, part of the fabric of the space in which we operate, emblematic of who and what we are as organizations and responsible members of the business community.

Many organizations get what they want, and we all know them. They’re the “Apples” and “Nikes” and “Starbucks” and “Coca Colas” of the world. But sadly, many organizations do not. We don’t know their names, nor are we ever likely to. These are brands that, for whatever reason, misfire in their attempts to capture the imaginations and hearts of consumers.

So why do some organizations soar while others falter?

For certain, the extent to which a company’s brand permeates the organization—the extent to which a company is able to make its brand come alive internally—plays a significant role.

Successful organizations are those most able to mobilize their brands from the top down, and every which way. Within these organizations, whether you’re a member of the frontline staff, a back-office technician, or on the executive team, you know the brand, you live it, breathe it, and communicate it. The brand is in the company’s very DNA and “living it” becomes almost second nature.

But infusing a brand and all it stands for throughout an organization is no easy task, whether you’re a startup or an established brand undergoing a rebrand. Take American Airlines, for example. A little over a year ago, they launched a major re-branding effort: new language, new positioning, new logo, and they told the whole world about it. Guess what? They focused so much on the external elements of their brand that they neglected to look internally. In essence, their rebranding was little more than a facelift. With nothing new on the inside, they failed to give customers the kind of new experience they promised. It was simply the same old American Airlines in new clothing.

Companies falter when they are unable to get their employees to buy into the brand and manifest desired behaviors and attitudes on the frontlines, in the field, or even the boardroom. What might have seemed a cinch when these organizations consisted of just a handful of people, often becomes an overwhelming challenge as the company grows. Who has the time or the inclination, anyway, to read a 20-page creative brief or a 15,000-word brand strategy manifesto?

With little if any brand cohesion on any front, organizations like this just never seem to hit their stride.

What organizations need is a tool with which they can easily communicate their brand platforms across a wide range of employees and geographies. They need something their teams can read quickly, digest, understand, and apply to their everyday jobs—something they can keep right in front of them, something that gives them a clear picture of where the brand is going and the role they, as employees, play in it.

Enduring brands are alive and dynamic. They allow organizations to adapt their products and offerings with the times. Similarly, because staff and strategic messages change over time, these organizations need ways to communicate their brand platforms to staff efficiently and effectively, without the need to walk an entire organization through mountains of text and statistics and focus group studies to gain understanding (something that, realistically, will never happen). Sure, all that stuff’s important for those who need and want to know it, but for the majority of staff, the top-level stuff more than suffices.

What if we had a simple, yet powerful, way to do this—a tool that could be used to align an entire organization, whether that’s only a handful of individuals or thousands?

Well, now we do. I developed what I like to call “The Actionable Brand.” Rather than overwhelm your teams with details and minutiae, this approach gets employees inspired and informed about your brand to ensure everyone’s on the same page, engaged, and living it.

Interested? If you’re truly committed to building the strongest brand platform possible, you should be. In the coming weeks, I’ll take a more in-depth look at what makes up The Actionable Brand. We’ll explore its key elements, how it works, and most importantly, why.

Won’t you join me?

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The Actionable Brand

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Frank Cowell
About the Author
Frank Cowell@frankcowell

Frank Cowell is President at Elevator, a digital brand strategy agency based in the San Diego, California area. He works regularly with CEOs, CMOs, and VPs of Marketing who are looking to create amazing brand experiences while driving inbound leads. A self-taught programmer with a deep understanding of technology, Frank enjoys a unique blend of brand development and marketing savvy that enables him to offer fresh perspectives on often-complex marketing concepts that he distills into actionable, easy-to-understand language. An energetic and entertaining speaker, Frank presents regularly to regional and national organizations on topics related to branding and digital marketing.

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