5 Things Every Brand Team Needs From Its Business Leaders
Updated: May 18
A No-BS Executive’s Guide to Set Up Your Brand Leaders for Success.
This is not your cookie-cutter solicitation blog about brand management. This cuts to the bone and tests your commitment: As a business leader, what is really required of you for your brand to succeed:
Faith: Are you up to the task of placing your faith in something beyond your expertise?
Time: Flexibility in the agenda and schedule is key to allowing the brand to develop and improve.
Special care: Treating those who understand how to treat the brand is crucial.
Authority: None of it can succeed without executive-level authority.
Networking: Building, cultivating, and sharing connections can generate more opportunities, strengthen credibility and trust, and provide valuable insights.
What A Brand Requires of Its Business Leaders
In the early 2000s, companies were still learning how to leverage technology to benefit their business. At the same time, consumers were valuing clarity and simplicity, leading to a trend of simplifying product offerings. Starbucks, which was experiencing rapid growth and expansion, attempted to capitalize on this trend by streamlining its menu and focusing on core products. However, this decision was met with backlash from customers who felt that Starbucks was losing its unique brand identity. Some customers even protested in stores and boycotted the company.
This situation illustrates the consequences of brand neglect or misunderstanding. Other terms for this include brand dilution, brand confusion, and brand drift. Ultimately, however, the root cause of the issue was ignorance among those in authority about the value of the brand. Having a strong brand is important for business success but it’s not always clear how to manage that brand. This is where a difficult admission comes in: one of the most valuable things a business leader can do to manage a brand successfully is to support someone else to manage it. This article goes into detail about the five other requirements.
Faith – What’s more important: the executive or the brand?
The success of a brand depends on the ability of its executives to have faith in those outside themselves. This includes faith in the value and strength of the brand, as well as the team managing and promoting the brand, as this helps to create a positive and collaborative work environment. Developing this skill can be challenging, but it can be learned and improved by being open to feedback and willing to adapt one's approach as required. To determine if you are effectively exercising faith, consider whether brand-focused decisions increase your heart rate or make you feel vulnerable. Trusting that your vulnerability is being handled with care is also crucial for success. Simply put, having faith is essential for business leaders.
Time – What’s more important: the schedule or the brand?
Successful branding requires a significant investment of time and effort, and there are no shortcuts to sustainable success. The timeline for achieving results can vary widely depending on factors such as the clarity and strength of the brand message, the size and characteristics of the target audience, the level of competition, and the state of the market's economy. As a general rule, digital rebrands can take 9-12 months, hiring can take 1-2 months per new hire (with 5-8 hires per year being on the aggressive end), and developing and launching campaigns can take anywhere from 1-2 months to 6 months or more. The return on investment for typical digital efforts may take 18-24 months or more after a rebranding or campaign launch to become apparent.
These estimates are merely starting points and can vary widely based on the specific circumstances of each brand. It’s also important to keep in mind the timeline for successful branding has more in common with product development than with a marketing or PR campaign, but there is one monumental difference brand management has from any other function in the company: emotions.
Special Care – What’s more powerful: logic or emotion?
Brand management is the only business function that focuses on the customer's emotional state. Building a strong emotional connection with customers is essential for building trust and loyalty, which drives long-term business success. Emotional responses can influence decision-making and can be more powerful motivators than logic or reason. In contrast, other business functions such as marketing and sales focus more on the practical aspects of a product or service and do not prioritize the customer's emotional state. While these functions are important for driving awareness and conversions, it is the brand that creates an emotional bond with the customer and differentiates the business from its competitors. Measuring the return on investment for brand management can be difficult because it relies on emotion, which is why time is a critical component and why brand-focused efforts must be given authority.
Authority – What level is your highest-ranking brand manager?
The success of your brand is directly related to the level of authority it is given. When a brand lacks authority, it is less likely to be successful. It is essential for executives to enable brand efforts, as it helps to align the brand with company strategy and goals, adds credibility and legitimacy, and ensures that the brand has the resources it needs to be effective. The true test of this support is whether executives are willing to relinquish some of their authority to brand experts who may not be part of the traditional leadership structure. The well-known story of Kodak illustrates how a lack of brand authority can lead to the downfall of a business. While the rise and fall of Kodak may be in the past, the real lesson it teaches is the importance of giving brand management the authority it needs to keep the brand relevant.
Networking – What’s more important: Top talent or connected talent?
If a brand could achieve only one goal, it should be to build and nurture lasting relationships at various levels. On an individual level, brand management is a team effort and requires the support of many individuals. On a team level, brand managers often work with cross-functional teams that may not report to them directly. At the corporate level, cross-branding can be more effective than going it alone. Brand managers should strive to connect with partners in constructive and collaborative ways. Finally, on a market level, the brand's voice should be similar to the brand team's voice, as this helps to build trust with customers.
To take things to the next level, executives can play an active role in sharing connections and introducing the brand to new networks. This can be achieved through activities such as mixers and executive-level meetings. By combining all of these factors - vulnerability, time investment, care, and the surrender of authority - with a strong network of connections, a brand can maximize its potential for success.
It’s A Gauge. Push Yourself Further
This is not a typical solicitation blog. It is a challenge to business executives. Ask yourself if you are up to the task of placing your faith in something beyond your expertise. While it can be difficult to do so, it is necessary for the success of the brand. Flexibility in the agenda and schedule is key to allowing the brand to develop and improve.
Treating those who understand how to treat the brand is crucial, and this requires proper authority. Building, cultivating, and sharing connections can generate more opportunities, strengthen credibility and trust, and provide valuable insights.
This is more than a list of ways to support your brand management team, but rather a recipe for success. If any one element is missing, it will not be a complete recipe and the brand will not reach its full potential.