by Tony Fannin, President, BE Branded
Too often businesses of any size sees marketing and branding as a department. Just as they see accounting, purchasing and customer service as separate departments. In today’s business climate, marketing and branding is not just a department, it is your business. Here’s what I mean. Your customers typically gets acquainted with your brand through your marketing efforts. They formulate their emotional opinion of you through these tactics which lays the foundation of your brand and what you stand for. When they engage your front line or sales staff, too many are disappointed that your brand and marketing doesn’t live up to the expected promise. As a result, they feel lied to and put your brand in the category of just another dull company trying an advertising trick.
Marketing is company wide. It is all marketing, all the time from the Private-First-Class line employee to the CEO and, to some extent, your suppliers. All must be in alignment with your brand promise and your marketing. I would argue that it is these front line employees who are the most critical in establishing and reinforcing your brand. They have more direct contact with your customers than any one in the company. Your brand comes alive through these people regardless of where they work in the organization. From the bookkeeper to the cashier, all of your people are marketers and living brand ambassadors.
Just as most C-level executive’s job is all sales, all the time, the rest of the company personnel is all about marketing and living the brand. When companies isolate the marketing and branding to just a department, they risk a huge disconnect between the marketing and the reality of engaging with your brand. This will kill any company, no matter the size. When you roll out a marketing program or campaign, do the rank and file really believe you’re telling the reality or do they just think it’s all bull? If the PFC (private-first-class) doesn’t buy in on what you are marketing, you can bet your customers don’t either. Unfortunately, too often, marketers try to portray an image that isn’t real or that they even believe in. This is why so many customers distrust marketing and advertising. No tricks. No exaggerations. Just be real and true to who you are and what you can deliver to your customers. If you’re honest in communicating an authentic emotional brand promise, you’ll be seen as great. You won’t have to tell them you’re great. Starbucks is great at what it does. They never claim to have the best coffee. They only claim you will have, in a small way, an inspirational experience while you’re at the store. A small treat in your day to make it brighter.
So, get out of the mindset that marketing is only left up to the marketing department. Marketing is what you are in the business of doing. Without authentic marketing and branding running through the veins of all of your people, you’re just setting up your customers for disappointment with your brand. And often, we don’t get second chances.