Monday, May 25, 2009

Does your Company Behavior Line up with Your Brand Messages and Promises?

I just finished reading Jonathan Salem Baskin’s recent blog “The Fatwa on my Head” , and thought his insights timely given my thoughts after our CMO Thought Leadership Summit this past week.

My favorite quote from his blog is “Fond feelings toward names or logos don't have a direct link to sales. We can strive to make people think happy thoughts until we've exhausted our marketing budgets, but if branding is intended to get people to think about branding, it's sort of a circular, pointless pursuit.”

One of the single biggest take-aways from our summit, the breakout sessions and the conversations at breaks, dinners, and our reception, is the fundamental shift in marketing from brand building thru messaging, creative advertising and big marketing campaigns, to driving the growth agenda for your company by influencing the company wide behaviors your demonstrate.

I think about a recent conversation I had with Todd Townsend, new head of marketing at Qwest ( recent CMO at Sonic Drive In ), and when I asked him the single biggest take away from his time at Sonic that Qwest can benefit from, he quickly responded the focus on operational excellence within marketing and the entire organization. Susan Lintonsmith from Red Robin Restaurants, Ram Menon from Tibco, Mike Hogan from Gamestop, Scott Lutz from SAP, Kim Feil, in her keynote presentation, on her progress and plans at Walgreens, Barb Dondiego from Level 3 Communications, Ted Rubin at elf Cosmetics, Phil Clement at Aon, and others all had conversations with me recently in which their ability to influence company wide behaviors and customer facing employee buy in and commitment to customer service is what’s helping drive the brand.

Clearly we as marketing officers in our companies need to understand our target customer segments, develop “high impact”, clearly defined messaging and differentiation, etc. and implement programs to educate and influence our target audience as to why we are the best, or different, etc. But our role in driving the “actions talk louder than words” reality is critical to our success.

I also think that companies and Brands that have focused over the years on Brand Communications and campaigns exclusively are having a harder time moving to this “always on” social marketing approach as it requires a customer and partner engagement and a company wide behavior shift.

Does your company behavior align with your brand messages and promises?

1 comment:

CorpCross said...

In total agreement Pete. With today's tools in place, companies can now directly tie their overall marketing and operational performance to their branding campaigns, which should be very different these days.