A Brand-Centric company is different than a Product-Centric company in how it creates and delivers value. We’ve seen a 7 step process on how to move product-centric managers to create and focus on the brand. In this part we look at the essential steps to creating a ‘brand’ centric company. It is critical for customers to associate the values you communicate with your brand – it is the most powerful unifying force throughout the company.
High-tech companies usually have various roles from very different backgrounds. Developers with strictly technical backgrounds may have little exposure to marketing or other business functions. Conversely, MBA in sales and marketing may have an understanding of their industry’s core technologies and sufficient, but not extraordinary, knowledge of their company’s own technology products. Why should they work together and what experience they should create? The company’s promise of value to customers provides a common denominator and a common language to bridge these different thought worlds.
Here are 3 things that a company needs to do to become a brand-centric company that consistently delivers its promise to customers.
Bring Management Focus
The fundamental difference between a product-centric and a brand-centric company lies in the shift of the attitude of the people — a shift from selling products or services to selling a promise of value. Once the promise is clear, think about how that promise relates to the company’s strengths and employees’ impressions of what the company is offering. Do the internal and external impressions match? If not, how do they differ? The management needs to think through one central question: What emotional rewards do you get from using this product?
Creating a brand is not just a marketing exercise. A company has to ‘live’ the brand. This step requires managers to make three crucial decisions:
- First, they must understand how the potential customer markets are segmented and choose the segments they wish to serve.
- Second, they must determine what type of promises are feasible to offer.
- Third, they must set a branding policy which answers how do you promise value for selected customer segments?
Determining Brand Promise
If you’re a company whose customers traditionally were IT managers – then you sold service, support, and reliability and because that is what they expected vendors to deliver. Today consumers are younger, technologically highly competent, and not risk-averse. They care less about the order you brought them last decade and are OK with the hassles of working with new technologies for the intellectual and technical challenges they pose. Your promise of value for this group needs to shift to collaboration and technical prowess, on top of your traditional message.
A great example is EMC. In 2010s EMC realized that in IT departments, which were using the storage products made by EMC, purchasing decisions are often narrowly based on price, but for senior executives, any decision reflects broader considerations. Attempting to avoid the price wars that resulted from marketing to technically sophisticated buyers in IT departments, EMC instead tailored its promise for senior managers who could dictate purchasing decisions. In a series of advertisements in publications like the Wall Street Journal, EMC raised relevant issues for senior executives, such as the role of data storage in securing competitive advantage.
Delivering Brand promise
Determine what the company’s various business functions must do to make good on the promise of value. If the promise boils down to superior service and support, then those capabilities must be fully developed, maintained, and monitored. Service and support should also be built into technology offerings in the first place. That means you not only need a team of fully qualified service technicians for post-sale service but also web-based near real-time remote service capabilities.
Remember while it is fashionable to refer to the relationship between the management – employees as ‘family’ and that between the company and vendors as “ecosystem or partnerships” they most often are not — because they don’t understand the common experience they need to deliver. If the brand is understood internally, then employees, managers and partners work together to support the promise.
Entrepreneur, TEDx speaker, Philanthropist, Rakesh Shukla is a 1996 MBA graduate and 1993 BTech. Rakesh Shukla is the Founder & CEO of TWB_ which is the partner for technology & business content for Fortune 500 leaders worldwide. A motivational speaker he speaks on creating success from professional and personal failure. He divides time between his 2 homes in Bangalore and is called the ‘dog-father’ for being papa to the 750 rescued dogs that live with him at the VOSD Dog Sanctuary. Rakesh has featured in 100+ interviews on the BBC, CNN, Al-Jazeera, CNN-IBN, NDTV, India’s national dailies, and at TEDx talks.
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