Who doesn’t love a good tagline? I still wonder, “Where’s the beef?” And I definitely “Don’t leave home without it!” We sing our favorite jingles in our heads even when we’re cursing at ourselves for doing so. I know I appreciate a good looking logo, and admit it, so do you. How often have you been tempted to click on something just because the logo looked awesome? We look forward to Super Bowl ads just as much as the game itself, and we think wow, they spent millions of dollars on that?
The reality is that branding is more than all that sexy, jazzy stuff that gets retargeted to you over and over. I’m personally at the point where if I see one more ad for those red Jimmy Choos I was guiltily looking at two months ago, I’m going to potentially drop the cash in lieu of getting my husband a Christmas gift this year.
It’s easy for us to think of all that branding work as someone else’s job. Someone in marketing created all that stuff and it’s not really “my job” to do anything with it other than admire it, or if need be, criticize it.
However, the brand is about so much more than all that stuff. It’s really about what a company is. It’s about what it means to the market. It’s about the essence of why the company does what it does. And it’s absolutely your job to be a brand advocate.
Think about the last time you were at a social event and someone asked you what you did. You probably thought, “Oh God, how can I get this conversation out of the way quickly? I really don’t want to talk about work right now.” So you most likely gave a quick one or two sentence answer, not really caring if the receiver of that communication understood a word of it. Anything to get you back to your cocktail and off that topic, right? Wrong.
You’re part of the bigger picture. You were hired to do a job because you are critical to the company’s success, and the company’s success is measured in large doses by brand loyalty. Part of your job –whether you’re in development, administration, sales, or yes, even marketing – is to help keep brand loyalty high.
I love all those “quick tips” I see all the time that entice people to do something better and faster without doing much work. So, I give you a few “quick tips” for your part in the branding process. A 1,2,3 that you can do faster than you can watch a typical commercial.
- Understand the value proposition of your company and how to communicate it in one to two sentences. Your company doesn’t make tax software for example. Your company helps people get their taxes done quickly and accurately. Think about the benefits, not the features.
- Understand your role in all of this and how to state it so that it makes sense. You don’t just process payroll. You help take care of some of the important accounting related tasks so the company can stay focused on its mission of improving customer results.
- Understand why it matters to the person listening. Think about who they are and why they should care. Maybe they aren’t a person who would ever buy your product or service, but how they perceive your company still counts. In this day of rapid information share, everyone’s voice matters.
Once you’ve gotten all that down, take a minute to write it up and practice it. You’ll find that not only will you no longer avoid the job question, you’ll actually look forward to it.
At VIP, as the head of marketing, my core job is to help our trusted customers and other partners understand how they can drive business performance through our solutions, and help get that word out in ways that build strong brand equity. But branding is your job as much as it is mine, no matter what your title. Keep that in mind as you’re clinking away with good holiday cheer, and take a moment to remember your role as a brand master!