13 Nov The CEO & the brand
What is the role of the CEO and the brand?
The CEO should actually be the driver of the brand. Too often this role is left to the Marketing Manager who frankly, is on a hiding to nothing if the CEO is absent from the process or doesn’t understand what it takes to develop a brand.
It’s tough for the Marketing Manager.
Although it plays a telling role, brands are not built purely off the backs of the Marketing Manager and the agency’s creativity. True or iconic brands are built through the way that the client experiences the company, products and services. It is an intangible thing. Intangible but built by people and processes rather than just a creative whim. The creativity is that connect which draws and influences like-minded customers and prospects. The brilliance of IT or R&D is equally important in creating the brand. If this is correct, it means that the entire company rolls to the beat of the brand. The Marketing Manager is seldom in a position to instruct, say, Admin to change a process to deliver the promised brand values or IT to deliver a system which aligns with the brand promise. Going further, the Marketing Manager will have great difficulty convincing HR to include brand deliverables in each employees’ performance standards. But the CEO or MD most certainly can.
No Steve Jobs.
Does the CEO need to be a visionary extraodinaire to assume the Brand Lead role? Not necessarily. There are only so many Steve Jobs around. CEO’s however need to understand how brands work. They need to think beyond signage and logos. Being subjective can dilute the entire budget. They’ll also need to string together business strategy, marketing strategy and brand strategy, making sure that there are no debilitating gaps.
The departure point.
The starting point is a well-considered brand strategy – a strategy which talks directly to your target .audience. Here, the old saying is true – it’s not about you, it’s about them! In getting to grips with defining a brand strategy, the CEO may need assistance from the Marketing Manager. If the Marketing Manager is not a brand expert (Marketing is left brain, Brand is right brain) then think about bringing in a brand strategist or brand coach to take you through the process. It is not a bad idea outsourcing that role as it brings the vital outside-in perspective, is devoid of politics or agendas and is not a permanent post.
Make 2020 the year of your brand
Business is tough and it could be your brand that carries you through by winning where it counts, externally – also giving the beleaguered sales team hope and a rallying flag. Internally, your brand can unite your entire business behind a common purpose, introducing new vigour.