How business leaders can fully utilise the power of brand - Business Works
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How business leaders can fully utilise the power of brand

by Steve Woolley, Head of External Affairs, CIM More than just a logo, a brand lives and evolves in the hearts and minds of its customers and growth is only realised when a brand's promises are delivered. Despite this, our recent study revealed that two-thirds (67%) of marketers believe their senior leadership teams fail to fully implement their company's core values and brand identity within their organisation and in their relationship with customers, says Steve Woolley, Head of External Affairs at the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). Consequently, marketers feel that opportunities are being lost and that the brands they work for are failing to reach their full potential.

Our Brand Experience study indicates that senior business leaders regularly think of brand as merely a communications idea when they should be seeing it as a set of values that is lived and breathed by members at every level of the organisation. Therefore, it's no surprise that more than half of marketers are concerned that employees have a severe lack of understanding of the vision and direction of their organisation. If those at the top fail to see the real purpose of a strong brand identity, the rest of the workforce will follow their lead.

Worryingly, this lack of awareness and failure to embrace brand values has a negative effect on the customer experience, which may then lead to business performance being compromised. This is why it is crucial that business leaders view brand as more than merely a marketing concept and that they are committed to implementing the values throughout their organisation. I believe this will allow them to create a seamless brand experience across each aspect of the customer journey that is reinforced by all employees.

This approach is crucial for businesses of all sizes. One organisation that successfully permeates brand through all aspects of the business is online retailer, one of the world's top online destinations for expertly-designed furniture at an affordable price. The brand is all about design, innovation, customer engagement, a large community of designers and value for money.'s COO, Julien Callede, strives to ensure that the importance of the brand, and what it stands for, is something the whole business understands very well.

In practice, this means ensuring that all departments work closely together to create designs that complement each other - acknowledging that design is not just about how things look, but also how they work together and how close attention to detail can make a company better deliver its promise. Innovation is also at the heart of's DNA. On a daily basis, its teams are constantly encouraged to think outside the box and come up with new and unusual ideas that they wouldn't expect from other brands. Underpinning all of this is value for money, something the brand stands for in every area. Julian is constantly striving to cut unnecessary costs at every level, even internally, and champions the fact that without low cost and exceptional quality, the company would never accomplish its purpose.

Based on the findings from our Brand Experience report, we've created a list of easy-to-apply principles that senior leaders can implement to truly unlock the potential of their brand and drive value for their business.

  1. Make sure it starts at the top - agree a clear mandate for brand within your business and invest time in gaining consensus on this. Make sure the brand lives and breathes across all departments. Lead by example and other staff will follow.

  2. Gain clarity around the brand promise - work with your marketing team to translate what your brand vision means in practice across each area of your business. Regular communication, both internally and externally, is essential so customers are aware of what to expect and staff know what must be delivered.

  3. Allow the brand to permeate through the organisation - develop partnerships between your marketing and HR teams to integrate the brand into company culture and change initiatives. This can be done in various ways, from featuring as part of new staff inductions to supporting recruitment and attracting the right kind of talent into the organisation. Brand champions and ambassadors should exist across the organisation and not just in the marketing team.

  4. Create space for brand to be in the right conversations - consider what your marketing team can bring to the table across your wider business. This may include customer insight, market or competitive intelligence, as well as brand performance data. Brand performance should be a topic of conversation at Board meetings and a regular discussion for senior leadership teams.

  5. Establish more meaningful measurement - encourage your marketing team to collaborate with finance, IT and customer service to develop a dashboard of useful metrics to actively track and understand how brand is being delivered across the customer journey. If all teams sign up to this, then all should work together to deliver on it.

To find out more, please take a look at the: Brand Experience report

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