In today’s extremely competitive marketplace brands that thrive know the importance of starting with the foundational element – Brand DNA. It’s more than just knowing who the company is and what they want to offer and it’s more than core values and mission statements. Brand DNA is about looking deeper and discovering what the business wants to be known for in the marketplace, how they want to be perceived among peers, and how they want to define the relationship with both the customer and the team member. A useful and practical aspect is that Brand DNA not only provides a roadmap for both long term strategic planning in the C-suites, but it is a great tool for day-to-day decision-making at every level.
When done correctly, Brand DNA influences and steers leaders through almost all decisions and initiatives.
There are three factors business owners should consider when beginning this dialogue. Having an experienced Brand DNA facilitator is also critical to keeping the process as objective as possible:
Businesses come and go in today’s markets, but those that stay tend to be the ones that are true to themselves and the communities they serve. Think of the above question in terms of the objectives for the company. For a focus on conveying quality in every phase of the operation, the words “pure” and “true” might be appropriate in a Brand DNA point. For a desire to connect and be involved with the target audience, the words “relevant” and “regional” might serve as a Brand DNA point.
Through outlining the company’s objectives, these key words and phrases can become apparent very easily. It’s good to remember audiences appreciate when a company is transparent. Stating how the company wants to be viewed in the marketplace will only help drive those beliefs internally – it all starts from within.
Highlighting a key differentiator can help companies stand out among competitors and provide a sense of confidence for target audiences who engage with them. For example, when a company sources only the finest foods for its restaurant, customers know they are eating something fresh every dining experience and are assured in their decision to continue being a patron of that restaurant.
Customers and team members alike want to know a company is assertive and reliable when it comes to what is being offered. That uniqueness factor is just another way of letting audiences know the company is committed to those it serves and willing to go the extra mile. Another strong Brand DNA point could be, “Whatever it takes.”
Brand DNA is a great tool for all levels of the organization. The DNA points provide the roadmap which guides everyone to what is important to the brand and steers us away from what could be damaging to the brand.
The rule of thumb seems to be about five DNA points are a sufficient and usable number to actually work with. The litmus test for making a decision or moving forward with a strategy is that the initiative must comply with at least two DNA points and cannot violate any!
Additionally, business leaders should aim to surround themselves with colleagues who seek the best for themselves and their business partners. There’s no sense in working with someone who doesn’t share the same goals of the business. However, in those times where a business relationship doesn’t work out, parting ways doesn’t have to be a negative discussion, instead it can be for the betterment of the business and the Brand DNA.
By keeping these questions at the forefront of the conversation, CEOs and business owners can lay the ground work to develop ethically strong employees who will be advocates of the company and the value it provides, as well as aid in fostering solid relationships in the business community.
Respect is earned, not given and by putting in the time to create the Brand DNA, companies show they are serious about the growth of the business, its reputation and its future.
Bill Bayne is co-founder and co-owner of Neighborhood Ventures, Inc., the parent company of Fish City Grill and Half Shells Oyster Bar & Grill restaurants. To learn more, visit www.fishcitygrill.com.
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