I believe branding follows the same path. For decades, we (marketers) have been trying to craft and control all of our marketing messages. Now, don’t get me wrong. Consistency is critical to marketing success. That’s us standing tall and saying "here’s our story and our promise."
What happens when "no one is watching" is the other half. It’s the grace under pressure. It’s the acid test of your brand.
It’s the instinctual response to any situation. Especially sticky ones.
- How does your organization respond when a reporter shows up asking invasive questions
- What do you do when the homeless man takes up residence in your lobby
- A competitor leaks a story that implies you are unethical
- Misuse of your product results in a man’s death
- You discover that something you own holds the key to another company’s success…or failure
- What do you say when a former employee solicits a current customer
- How does your employee manage an angry customer who is making a scene?
- What’s the next step when you accidentally get copied on an e-mail from an employee lambasting you
This is where the "our brand is our logo and our tagline" philosophy falls flat. That version of branding is skin deep. And skin deep will not hold together when there is no brainstorming time or strategy bullet point in the marketing plan.
Is your brand deep enough? Would you survive the acid test? Would you and all your peers react in the same way to the situations above? Or do you only have a skin-deep brand?