A logo is not a BRAND ! via @davidmerzel’s BLOG

A Logo Is Not a Brand

Very interesting reading in Hervard Business Review

http://blogs.hbr.org/pallotta/2011/06/a-logo-is-not-a-brand.html 

Key leraning’s here-below.

Lots of organizations and lots of people think that brand begins and ends with a LOGO.

Brand is much more than a name or a logo. Brand is everything, and everything is brand.

Brand is your strategy.

If you’re a consumer brand, brand is your products and the story that those products tell together. Ikea’s kitchen chairs’ tendency to fall apart after two years is part of the company’s brand. If you’re a humanitarian organization, brand is your aspirations and the progress you are making toward them.

Brand is your calls to action.

If Martin Luther King had offered people free toasters if they marched on Washington, that would have been his brand. Are your calls to action brave and inspiring or tacky? Are they consistent with some strategy that makes sense?

Brand is your customer service.

If donors call your organization all excited and get caught up in a voicemail tree, can’t figure out who they should talk to, and leave a message for someone unsure if it’s the right person, that’s your brand. It says you don’t really care all that much about your donors. If they come to your annual dinner and can’t hear the speaker because of a lousy sound system, that’s your brand.

Brand is the way you speak.

If you build a new website and fill it with outdated copy, you don’t have a new brand. If the copy is impenetrable that’s your brand. If you let social service jargon, acronyms, and convoluted abstractions contaminate everything you say, that’s your brand.

Brand is the whole array of your communication tools.

Brand is the quality of the sign on the door that says, “Back in 10 minutes.” It’s whether you use a generic voicemail system with canned muzak-on-hold, or whether you create your own custom program. The former says you are just like everyone else and you’re fine with that; the latter says you are original.

In the digital age, user interface is your brand.

If your website’s functionality frustrates people, it says that you don’t care about them. Brand extends even to your office forms, the contracts you send out, your HR manuals. Do you rethink traditional business tools or default to convention? The choice you make says a lot about how innovative your brand is.

Brand is your people.

Brand is your people and the way they represent you. Having a good team starts with good hiring and continues with strong and consistent training and development. No matter how well your employees adhere to your new brand style guide, if they couldn’t care less about the job they’re doing, that’s your brand.

Brand is your facilities.

Are the lights on, or is your team working in darkness? Is the place clean and uncluttered? Does it have signage that’s consistent with your visual standards? Does it look and feel alive? Your home is your brand.

Brand is your logo and visuals, too.

A great brand deserves a great logo and great graphic design and visuals. It can make the difference when the customer is choosing between two great brands. But these alone cannot make your brand great.

Ultimately, brand is about caring about your business at every level and in every detail, from the big things like mission and vision, to your people, your customers, and every interaction anyone is ever going to have with you, no matter how small.

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Create a Powerful Leadership Brand

I want to share with you, an interesting artcle regarding how to “create a powerful leadership brand”

I just had a very good discussion on this with Simon Vetter (coach and expert in behavioral change and personal brand management) who has done the article here-below with Patricia Wheeler.

My take-out of this article and discussion are following :

  • In business, companies put tremendous efforts into building their brand because strong branding results in premium price, higher credibility, better reputation, and ultimately, higher revenue.
  • So how do we combine leadership and branding?
  • Ask yourself the following questions: What aspects of leadership do you want to be known for? In other words, what feelings do you evoke in people so they positively talk about you, refer you, promote you, and want to do business with you?
  • Solicit feedback from the people around us; proactively ask for others’ point of view. ( thru a 360° online survey), or go to our co-workers and ask for their candid input on how they see us and how we impact others.
  • We must ensure that our intentions are congruent with our actions. We all have good intentions, but too often our behaviors leave a different impression. Then we wonder why people respond incongruously to us, don’t do the things we ask them to do. Having good intentions is not enough; we must display the behaviors that best convey our intentions to others.
  • Remember, we judge ourselves by our intentions and we judge others by their behaviors.

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Here-below, the full article.

Create a Powerful Leadership Brand

By Patricia Wheeler and Simon Vetter

What’s your leadership brand?

Think you don’t have one? Guess again! The term leadership brand is based on two important disciplines: branding and leadership.

First, let’s define branding. Simply put, branding is the perception that people have of a product, service, company or person. A brand stands for something; it is associated with an idea, an emotion, a standard of quality or a unique concept. We think of brands as mostly related to products and organizations….for example, Heinz 57; Exxon; Lexus. Think of brands that have powerful positive connotations for you. What characteristics do you perceive? What emotions does the brand evoke?

In business, companies put tremendous efforts into building their brand because strong branding results in premium price, higher credibility, better reputation, and ultimately, higher revenue.

The same concept applies to people. At this point, those most focused on building their brand tend to be service professionals and entrepreneurs who must differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace.

The crucial question in personal branding is: What are you known for? Leaders inside organizations increasingly recognize the importance of consciously developing their own personal brand, apart from the brand of their company.

Why should corporate executives be aware of and develop their personal brand? The reasons are similar to those involved in corporate or product branding. When individuals have a credible reputation, this equals a strong personal brand, which in turn leads to higher earning power, better chances for promotion, and more interesting opportunities.

In summary, they are more in demand and get more of what they want. Now, let’s consider leadership and its relationship to branding. The essence of leadership is contained in the following question: Do people want to follow you? We’ve all known executives who had “position power” but failed to connect with and inspire those they led. So how do we combine leadership and branding? Ask yourself the following questions: What aspects of leadership do you want to be known for? In other words, what feelings do you evoke in people so they positively talk about you, refer you, promote you, and want to do business with you?

Let’s take the case of Peter, a highly talented executive director of a Fortune 500 company. Although he was an intelligent, ambitious, no-nonsense manager, Peter was twice turned down for promotion to vice president. He was incredulous when others moved up and he didn’t. His boss, sensing Peter’s frustration, recommended he consult with a coach. Peter was originally skeptical when we encouraged him to reflect on his leadership brand and how he is perceived. He really pushed back, asserting that personal branding is insubstantial, that it pertained more to the sizzle than the steak. “Why should I spend my time on soft stuff like politics? What I’m known for is results, and that’s what really matters.” He strongly believed that his performance and numbers should speak for themselves, and that leaders shouldn’t have to “blow their own horn.” When we conducted a 360° feedback survey with Peter’s co-workers, we uncovered some crucial information about how he was perceived by others. He was, indeed, acknowledged for his drive, creative problem solving, critical thinking, financial acumen and industry knowledge. In addition, he was also perceived by bosses and peers as abrupt, disrespectful and dismissive of others people’s ideas. For example, when one of his peers expressed an idea in a meeting, Peter cut her off, quickly telling her why that idea wouldn’t work. By doing so, Peter discredited his colleague – not just her idea – and conveyed the message “I am smarter than you; your ideas don’t matter, mine do.”

Although Peter was efficient, smart and engaging, he sometimes came across as boastful, impolite, dismissive and disrespectful. This, in essence, was his leadership brand. There was a strong discrepancy between Pete’rs intentions and the message his actions carried. Even though he had the best interests of his company in mind, Peter wasn’t aware of the impact he had on others. This is called a blind spot, when others see something in us that we don’t. There are two lessons we can learn from Peter. First, solicit feedback from the people around us; proactively ask for others’ point of view. To gather this information, we can conduct a 360° online survey, or go to our co-workers and ask for their candid input on how they see us and how we impact others. The goal in this exercise is to see through our own blind spots. The second insight from Peter’s story is that we must ensure that our intentions are congruent with our actions. We all have good intentions, but too often our behaviors leave a different impression. Then we wonder why people respond incongruously to us, don’t do the things we ask them to do or, as in Pete’s case, don’t promote us. Having good intentions is not enough; we must display the behaviors that best convey our intentions to others. Remember, we judge ourselves by our intentions and we judge others by their behaviors.