August 2nd, 2009
…Until all that is left is what matters. The process of developing a brand requires patience and perseverance. It is a top->down, inside->out approach that often requires knocking down long standing dogma and rhetoric.
When a brand is born, it is arises from an idea, a philosophy. Those ideals are imbued in the brand, establishing its unique identity, demonstrating its differentiation. When cared for, a brand drives long-term results by leading short term decisions.
Over time, as many decisions are enacted, brand is impacted. Many are made, not on the basis of brand, but on what is good for a department, or a budget, or a single customer. Decisions that seem critical but overly influence the brand are driven by responses to the market, to competitors, to regulatory or customer issues. In an effort to stay agile, to stay ahead, short term choices are made and brand is often left out of the decision process. These decisions dull the brand one bit at a time , often to a point where it is not easily recognized.
Thus walls are built, establishing pathways and methods of doing things that dictate future decisions. And piece by piece the brand is bound up, packed in by day to day decisions, made with the best intention, but rarely the best results for the brand.
Organizations need to strip away all of the built-up walls, throw away the blinders it did not even realize it was wearing and dislodge all of the miscommunication, deadened messages and stunted creativity. Only then can a company unearth the long dormant spirit of the original brand, get back to what mattered in the beginning and truly develop a unique and relevant brand.