We all want big brands: brands that symbolize more than sales and ROI; brands that do more than become case studies for the next generation of marketers; brands that speak for themselves over the course of time.
If your brand were big enough, would you have to reduce it into a catchy, pre-digested phrase to be hammered again and again into a consumer’s already overpopulated headspace? Or, like Nike, could you finally eschew Just Do It, knowing that the single swoosh fits your consumers’ need?
If your brand were big enough, wouldn’t your name alone conjure up not just your left-brained point of differentiation, but the share-of-heart emotional differentiation as well? Like Starbucks, for whom brand experience was about becoming the third place, not just publicizing it.
If your brand were big enough, wouldn’t your focus on core relevance and meaning attract loyal customers that would make you less pervious to the recession? Wouldn’t you be bucking the incredibly myopic trend of expanding the net out of desperation? Only smaller brands work so hard to own the battle cry, “Come one, come all.” Like the Marines, who continue to look for just a few, and as a result attract every wannabe soldier out there.
If your brand were big enough, wouldn’t your value proposition allow you to stop discounting to levels that you’d never recover from? Like Apple’s ability to turn from software to hardware with a stunning $4k per square foot retail success platform without any significant sales events.
If your brand were big enough, wouldn’t your job applicants show up in droves, unsolicited, whether employment was up or down? Like Southwest Airlines, who manages through love, not fear. Wouldn’t you be able to misstep once in awhile, knowing that your customers wouldn’t abandon you? Jet Blue left families sitting on the runway for eight hours without food, water or bathroom breaks – one customer called it a “sound-proof coffin.” Yet what could have literally been the PR meltdown of the decade didn’t dent the loyal customer base that Jet Blue’s brand had cultivated so methodically.
Google. Zappos. Apple. These aren’t just great operators and innovators. They’re more than smart retailers. They’re organizations painstakingly built from the brand up and out. They create an emotional connection so internally and externally powerful that measuring ROI far exceeds any single sale, promotion, or event.
When you blueprint your brand, think through the details and the opportunity from an experiential standpoint, not just the transactional. Think about a sustainable proposition, not a fluctuating promotion. Think about the true meaning of the brand: the core ideology that drives it through any storm and navigates it through the roughest seas.
It’s not just how you make a brand great – it’s how you make it big.