Monday Mornings with Madison

How Well Do You Know Your Brand?

Word Count: 1,346
Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

How well do you know your company’s brand?  Try this quick quiz to find out how you score.  Be honest with yourself when you answer these questions.  No one else needs to know the truth, but you should.

1. What is your company’s slogan or battlecry?

  • I have it memorized and understand it completely.5 points
  • I know the gist of it.3 points
  • I’ve seen it before; I could find it if I need it. 2 points
  • I have no idea. 0 points
  • Slogan… is that like a motto or tagline or something? -2 points

2. Do you know your company’s top selling idea or positioning statement?

  • Absolutely.  I can explain it in 10 words or less. 5 points
  • Yes, here’s my 2 min. elevator pitch. 3 points
  • I can explain it.  Let’s set a time to meet. 1 point
  • Let me give it some thought and get back to you. 0 points
  • I’m not sure the company has a top selling idea. -3 points

3.  Do you know the Mission that is guiding your company’s direction?

  • Yes.  Everyone knows.  It’s on all internal communications. 5 points
  • Hmmm, let’s see.  HR said it during onboarding 2 years ago. 3 points
  • I don’t remember.  Is that in the employee manual? 1 point
  • Isn’t that the same as the slogan? -2 points

4.  What are your company’s core values?

  • I know them all, and see them reflected in everything we do. 5 points
  • I know some of them, and I think they are reflected somewhat 3 points
  • I don’t know them but I’m sure we have core values and they guide most of what we do 1 point
  • We don’t have core values.  The market guides our actions -3 points

If you scored 21-25 points, you know your brand well.  If you scored 12-20 points, your knowledge of your company’s brand is average, but could be better.  That may not be your fault.  The brand’s identity should be baked into your company’s culture and behavior every day.  But, often it is not.  If you scored less than 12 points, you need to do some homework or the company needs to better define and communicate the brand to the staff.  Regardless of whether you are in the Accounting department, handle the mail room or deal with back office operations, every employee should understand the company’s brand thoroughly.

If you think the quiz was not a true assessment of your knowledge of your company’s brand, try this simple exercise.  See how well you – or other company employees – know the company’s brand by answering these four questions in the form of a tweet, using 140 characters or less for each.

  • What are your company’s core values?
  • What industry or market problem are you solving or what need are you fulfilling?
  • Who is your optimal customer (your avatar) and what’s the best way to reach him/her?
  • Describe your business.

Were you able to tweet each question in 140 characters or less (including spaces)?  That is roughly about 25 words.  You and everyone who works for the company should be able to spout everything in those four tweets verbatim.  However, it’s not a memory game, but a culture game. Every employee should uphold the brand’s identity… the “why” upon which the company was founded.

Employees Know Thy Brand
A company’s brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories, relationships and representations that, taken together, account for a consumer’s perception of the company and affects the decision to choose that product or service or another.  To create expectations, form memories, tell stories and build relationships, organizations use visuals and words to communicate a brand.  This includes everything a company “says and does” in how it comes across to the world.  It also includes symbolic and non-verbal cues.  The look, feel and voice work together to generate a representation of the brand.

Employee awareness of the brand is just as important as customer awareness of the brand.  All sales, marketing, communications and customer service efforts should reflect the brand.  The materials and design elements in the physical space should too.  And, all brand information should be distilled into simple, easy-to-remember micro-scripts that every employee knows by heart.

Does knowing all of the information about a brand seem like a lot to learn for the average employee?  It shouldn’t be.  Here is an example of the Atlanta Tech Village, an organization that was able to distill and communicate its entire brand in just 280 words (and 11 of those words were the headers!).  Everything about their organization confirms the brand’s mission, values, promise and purpose.

The 4th largest tech hub in the U.S., Atlanta Tech Village provides an amenity-rich 103,000 SF building designed to connect, inspire, and support 1,000+ entrepreneurs looking to change the world through technology.

Startups are hard.  Community shouldn’t be.

Support and inspire entrepreneurs to achieve success through a community that provides faster connections to ideas, talent, and capital.

Help Atlanta become a Top 5 tech startup city and create 10,000 jobs in our first 10 years.

Our approach is relationship driven with genuine care and investment in helping our startups succeed.  We lead with community, celebrating each other’s successes and operating as a double bottom line business balancing profit with community mindedness.

Be nice. Dream big. Work hard, play hard. Pay it forward.

Brand Promise
We promise to increase an entrepreneur’s chance of success by providing the best place to build and grow a tech startup.

Unique Value Propositions

1. Amenity-rich Community – Unlike co-working or traditional office space, we provide the resources* and flexibility startups with proprietary technology need to grow, scale, and succeed.

2.  Entrepreneurial density and size – We provide more community, more ideas, more at bats, more collaboration, and more successes.  Entrepreneurial density has a dramatic effect.  When talented makers and innovators interact regularly, new successful ventures are likely to emerge.

* Resources include: Mentors, Advisors, Pitch Practice, workshops, enterprise partners, access to VCs, free cloud storage, talent recruitment, nap rooms, free lunches, fitness classes, fully furnished offices, crazy fast Internet, and more. Everything we do is intentionally-designed to support startups and their teams as they grow.  Unlike an accelerator, we provide this without an imposed deadline and without any equity exchange.

The KISS Method:  Keep It Simple, Sonny (KISS)
The truth is that “brand” is an uncomfortable topic for many small and mid-sized business owners, simply because they weren’t thinking about their brand when they started. It’s not a knock. Every entrepreneur has a vision of how their organization can change the world and how they can make a lot of money. But very few enter into the world of entrepreneurship considering and planning their brand with intentionality.  Company names are chosen on the fly, often spending less than an hour on market research.

Case in point.  Nike’s original name when the company was founded in 1964 was Blue Ribbon Sports.  Sweet but uninspiring.   The company was renamed Nike in 1971, a name taken from Greek mythology.  Nike was the goddess of victory symbolizing triumphant encounters.  The swoosh logo was supposed to be a physical representation of motion.   By focusing on redefining and elevating their brand, Blue Ribbon Sport went from being a company that was competing head to head with other sneaker manufacturers to a brand that could sell inspire people to get physical using their premium sports apparel.

So don’t worry! It’s never too late to establish a company’s brand—or re-establish it because the market already defined the brand, instead of the other way around.  The key is to keep it simple!  Distill the message down to micro-messages.  Once the brand is intentionally crafted with great thought given to passion, purpose, and positioning, then then the company can set out to build brand into everything about the company and then teach employees, vendors and customers about the brand.  Once they know the brand, they can uphold and support it.

Quote of the Week
Today brands are everything, and all kinds of products and services – from accounting firms to sneaker makers to restaurants – are figuring out how to transcend the narrow boundaries of their categories and become a brand surrounded by celebrity-level buzz.” Tom Peters

© 2020, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.

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