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Published:April 8th, 2008 12:10 EST


By Simon Bailey (Mentor/Columnist)


Stale..stuck..spiritless. That is what brands become when they lose the mojo! Simply launching a new product in this hypersensitive, over-communicative society isn`t enough anymore. Opening a new building and hanging a sign out front is old and tired. Marketing to people through the three screens " " television, computer, mobile phone " has lost its impact because people now have the power to immediately TiVo or delete you out of their space.

According to Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi, You`ve got 3 seconds to impress me [the customer] " 3 seconds to connect with me, to make me fall in love with your product. " That`s all you have, Oh Brilliant Ones " 3 seconds. The moment customers interact with your brand, they will instantly judge if it is an authentic experience or the same old dry, dull, disjointed encounter.
In my travels, I observe companies spending untold hundreds of millions of dollars reinvigorating their brands. Often, after launching the new television/internet commercial, shifting their collateral material from paper to online and announcing to the world that they are new and improved, " customers experience the brand and know the truth: it`s old wine in new skin.

Meanwhile, everyone inside the organization is waiting for sparks to fly and for the brand to be launched into the stratosphere. Yet in a few months` time, reality sets in and the brand star " comes crashing back to earth. Why does this happen? Because too many organizations and leaders believe that reinvigorating a brand is a top-down rather than a bottom-up proposition. I know that those who work in the executive suites are supposed to have all of the answers because they`re paid the big bucks, right? Well, truth be told, the people who are closest to the customers have the answers.

To become a Brilliant Brand that enables customers to achieve their goals, your brand must live in the hearts and minds of every team member, from the front line to the executive suite. If your brand thrives and stands the test of time, it will do so because each individual feels a significant sense of ownership. Creating Brand Brilliance is a marathon, not a sprint. Lasting change is not supported by quick bold strokes, but rather by focused, sustained marches. Change must take place at every level of the organization in the form of a personal commitment by every team member. This is Brand Brilliance " every individual living the brand from the inside out.

If you want your team members to build the brand, then make them a promise "your brand promise. In other words, promise them the same things you promise your customers. Why? Employees are customers, too " perhaps your most crucial customers! What employees say to their families and friends about your brand after hours when you`re not around can either ruin or build a brand`s reputation. When employees are emotionally committed to the brand, they speak well of the brand. If they don`t feel the love, their lips will do the talking and their feet will do the walking as they send customers to the competition (who is waiting with open arms).

There are four steps to building Brand Brilliance: engage, encourage, empower and experience.

Engage individuals by showcasing the historical significance of the brand and weaving it into a simple, memorable, impactful story that helps employees connect the dots between the brand legacy and their present-day roles and responsibilities. A recent Harris Interactive poll of 23,000 U.S. workers found that only one in five had a clear line of sight " between their tasks and their organization`s goals.

Encourage others through language, the software of the mind. Every leader and manager should consciously upgrade his/her verbal software. Every word you speak carries energy and is downloaded into employees` heart drive, " causing them to respond positively or negatively towards your brand.

Empower team members to think like owners. Coach them to always ask, What is the best thing we can do for this customer right here, right now? "

Experience the experience. In other words, shop your own products and services early and often. Interact with your organization and employees the same way your customers do. What can be improved? Who needs to make some changes?

Brand Brilliance is all about re-enlisting heads, hearts and hands to create internal alignment, brand longevity, and customer loyalty. What is the result of Brand Brilliance? A company full of CBOs " Chief Brand Owners. In fact, organizations that are committed to Brand Brilliance often drop official titles to ensure focus on the brand and its promise. That means everyone from top to bottom is singing from the same sheet of music.

Simon Believes heads, hearts and hands joining in unison to strike one grand chord produces Brand Brilliance.

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